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July 1, 2017
I have several aucuba and hydrangea growing side by side. The aucubas are growing
so large and are beginning to overshadow the hydrangea, which I believe will impact
their flowering. Can I prune the aucuba now even though it is summer? Since the aucuba
doesn't bloom, would it hurt to prune it gently now?
Aucuba plants don’t have one main trunk but numerous canes. Instead of top pruning
a cane producing plant, the best method of pruning is to remove up to one third of
the older canes at the base to alleviate the size. I would recommend taking out no
more than one third at this time of the year, but it should help with the competition.
Prune the larger branches back to the ground line. If you prune these plants from
the top, they often branch out which makes them get a little top heavy and then they
start to cascade down on their neighbors. If the hydrangea also needs pruning, thinning
cuts again are what is needed, and should be done as soon as summer flowering ends.
I have had this plant in a pot for years. What is it? It has black leaves so I moved
it to a shady spot. Did it just get too much sun and heat?
The plant in question is an aucuba, commonly called gold dust plant. It is a shade
plant and the leaves will turn black if it gets too much sunlight. It is a great
evergreen shrub for the shade
I have taken up some aucuba that I had growing on the north side of my house after
they wilted and turned black. I also have some oakleaf hydrangeas that developed reddish
brown spots on them in the same area. We cut them back a couple of years ago, raked
up the old leaves and mulch, and they came back ok. We didn't have any flowers last
year, but this year we sprayed with a fungicide and we had lots of flowers. Now late
in the season, but later on the red spots are back. What do we do to get rid of whatever
it is that is causing our problem? Our tomatoes and peppers in small bed on the east
side of the house are also affected. Would you advise replacing the aucuba with healthy
plants or going to a more disease resistant plant?
How much sunlight were the aucuba getting--also the oakleaf hydrangeas? We have had
several situations where trees were removed or damaged and the plants were simply
getting too much sun. Aucuba turn black in direct sun. This year, many oakleaf and
regular hydrangeas have leaf spots. It isn't all that rare late in the season, nor
would I recommend starting a spray program this late. If the problem starts early
in the year then a fungicide might we warranted. Water is still the most vital factor
for success in a garden, and this year that was a challenge. Lack of fertilization,
heat and drought stress are probably your biggest problems with the vegetables. I
do not think the same thing is plaguing all your plants, but it has been a tough gardening
Are there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia) that will grow well
under pine trees?
Pines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant
shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices,
but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines,
but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.
Are there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia)that will grow well under
Can aucuba be trimmed to the ground and recover? We have a large stand of aucuba that
is getting out of control. It gets plenty of water and minimal sun.
If aucuba, or gold dust plant, is planted in the right location (which it sounds like
yours is) they can be a vigorous and tough plant. I would rather you gradually thin
them out by removing up to one half of the old canes at the soil line in March. If
you decide to cut them all to the ground, do so in early spring. Let them get through
the winter and make sure all freezes have passed before pruning. Aucubas have taken
a hit in cold winters even with all their foliage attached so you wouldn’t want to
head into fall with a severely trimmed plant. Severe pruning is not something I would
ever do on a regular basis, but they should come back after one time. They won't be
too attractive in the process. A gradual approach would be easier on the plant and
more aesthetically pleasing in the landscape.
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