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Aargh! I killed my shrub!


I’m a relatively new gardener, so every little plant is precious in my garden because it’s a proportionally large investment in time and money. So for me, this is kind of devastating: I was trying out my weed-whipper and… I think I killed a shrub:

Last year my husband weed-whipped with our new weed-whipper once and did a nice job. I try to do most of the outdoor chores, because I know it is not favorite activity (he claims to be descended from northern, cave-loving, allergic to sunlight types… and he and his Dad do sneeze in bright light…).

So I was trying to deal with the somewhat-scary weed-whipper concept in a very noble effort to spare my dearie from a balmy and glorious afternoon (his least favorite sort). I read my manual, I donned safety glasses, sturdy shoes and long pants (I considered whether the hard hat would be necessary, the manual claims it should be worn under some circumstances), and I sallied forth to whip unruly grasses away from garden beds.

I managed to avoid personal injury, but the darn thing was heavy and cumbersome, and kind of scary. Certainly it was ridiculously noisy (I have a nearly-silent manual reel mower). But I did manage the one catastrophe…

I had been wondering for a little while if I should put in some kind of edging to keep a weed/grass-free circle around a small shrub that I planted last year. And this was just going through my mind again as I edged closer to this very shrub with my weed-whipper and snkasnk! there’s suddenly a perfect 2" section of bare barkless shrub-trunk on my poor defenseless witchhazel! And what is worse, the bark is stripped from the entire circumference! I may be relatively new to this gardening gig, but I know that girdling is the kiss of death for most plants. This poor little shrub is too tiny to perform some kind of fancy surgical grafting maneuver.

So no, it’s not some kind of huge financial or sentimental loss, the little guy was only there for less than 10 months and probably only cost about $8 USD. But I feel really guilty just the same. I picked out this kind of shrub with extreme care: they are native to the US, and are supposed to bloom extremely early in the spring (ironically, my “northern”, “sun-phobic” husband also gets a little bit of seasonal depression over a long gloomy winter, so I try to plant early-blooming things to liven up our long, grey “slush season”). My little shrub was also one of the very first perennial things that I planted at our new house…

Now I get to wait, watch for signs of (inevitable) decay and try to decide whether or not to order a replacement while I hope in vain for some sort of vegetative miracle which will allow the top of the little shrub to survive without xylem and phloem. Are all of a gardener’s little losses so heartwrenching? Or is it just because it’s my first?

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Take as many cuttings as possible, quick!
know how you feel though. when i spear a bulb with the garden fork i can almost hear it squeal

4 May, 2009


oh bless thats so sad, you must have been mortified.

x x x

5 May, 2009


Yes - Take cuttings. It would be a shame to just give up on the little plant.
I hate killing even weeds. lol

5 May, 2009

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