Escallonia Leaf Loss

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by John Mackenzie, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. John Mackenzie

    John Mackenzie Member

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    Bellingham, WA.
    We live in south Bellingham. Our 4 year old apple blossom escallonia hedge has always thrived throughout the previous winters and the only problem we have had is that it required pruning twice per year.
    With the first cold snap this winter the wet snow froze to the branches. Then ALL the leaves fell off.
    Has anyone experienced this before and had the escallonia recover?
     
  2. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    It might recover this spring if there are good buds on the stems. You may need to prune it back hard. I have seen alot of Escallonia in Bellingham that look damaged by the post-Thanksgiving storm.
     
  3. John Mackenzie

    John Mackenzie Member

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    Thanks. Unfortunately, except for the odd branch on the odd escallonia plant, there are no buds. Might the plants survive anyway? Should I prune it back hard now or wait?
     
  4. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Wait until late March or early April.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The common one sold here as 'Apple Blossom' is actually 'Donard Seedling', a hardier, larger-growing one. It is burned by worst winters but soon leafs back out, whereas the true 'Apple Blossom' may freeze to the ground or die. There used to be some of the latter at the Seattle arboretum but it didn't persist into the present. Unlike 'Donard Seedling', 'Apple Blossom' looks quite like 'Frades', another one common on the local market at present but 'Apple Blossom' has pink-and-white rather than all-pink flowers. The Phillips & Rix SHRUBS picture book shows flowering sprigs of the two "apple blossom" side-by-side.

    'Donard Seedling' makes a fairly big arching mound, a situation where it is thought it has to be cut back twice per year may not be a good use of it - unless you are trying to keep a geometric sheared hedge. Since it has a small leaf a nice effect may be possible with shearing, although as you have discovered there ARE the two problems of it making long vigorous growths that quickly and frequently break out of the desired outline, and it is sometimes defoliated or scorched by cold.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  6. John Mackenzie

    John Mackenzie Member

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    Thank you. Yes, it must be 'Donard Seedling' that we have. Your comment that "it is burned by worst winters but soon leafs back out, whereas the true 'Apple Blossom' may freeze to the ground or die" is most encouraging. I will patiently await this miracle of rejuvenation!

    We actually keep them as separate plants, rather than a uniform hedge. But they do grow a little too rapidly, tending to grow together and too high around our wrap-around deck. [We have a few others we do let "mound".] However, except fo this winter, they are always bright green, cheery and continue to have flowers much of the year including Novemeber. We may tire of the pruning over the continious lushness, but not yet. And if we do tire of it, I would hope we could replace them gradually, rather than all at once.

    Again, thanks!
     
  7. John Mackenzie

    John Mackenzie Member

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    Having just located the original tags, I see that the escallonia we have is a variety called "pink princess".

    Does this change the prognosis?

    I apologise for my original lack of clarity, being relatively new to this world of gardening.
     
  8. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    John--I have lots of pink princess here a bit north of you (same weather almost exactly) and it has done the same as yours. In past years as well, these arctic snaps defoliate much of the plants, and the bare brances don't leaf out again on this variety...just prune them back in another month or two.

    Like you mention, they are very vigorous plants...they will make up for the loss in just a few months. This winter the foliage has done better thanks to a good snow cover both times it got cold, but the snow broke many of the branches...can't win I guess! More to tidy up, but the plants will be fine.

    Wish my ceanothus "Victoria" would bounce back as easily, once again blackened more than not, and the leaves will be slow to replace on that plant. Only put up with it because of the awesome show of blue that is a highlight every summer...
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pink Princess is a selling name for the 'Frades' cultivar.
     
  10. John Mackenzie

    John Mackenzie Member

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    Thanks everyone - I'll post what happens in a couple months. At least they are not shilding the sun from the crocuses that have popped up!
     
  11. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Its something that I've seen a lot of time over the past 25 years.

    It makes sense to see where the new buds are coming from, then cutting away parts that may not recover.
     
  12. callensberg

    callensberg Member

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    I have several of these plants that are coming back so far. They start out slow, and some are quicker then others. I usually wait them out, and they have always come back. I have had them for about three or four years now. I usually don't cut them back until they are fuller.
     

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