Q: I purchased some variegated English ivy and planted it outside under my oak trees. It is not doing very well. Please help.

Q: I purchased some variegated English ivy and planted it outside under my oak trees. It is not doing very well. It has spots all over the leaves, some of the leaves had died and I do not know what to do.

A: After you brought me some clippings of your ivy it became apparent the plant was suffering from a root rot and fungal leaf spot disease. You are following the St. Johns River Water Management (SJRWM) guidelines of watering twice a week but this plant does not need or like being watered that often. The area is heavily mulched and it appears the water is not draining well enough. In addition, our city and well water often shows high alkalinity which means the water is probably not draining off the leaves efficiently. When water remains on the leaves of any plant for extended periods of time it can provide the perfect environment for disease causing fungi to multiply. The easiest way to remedy this situation is to change the irrigation head so the water is directed to the lawn separately from the flower bed area. In addition, if possible, alter the way the plant receives it water by changing to micro-irrigation hoses or heads which supply water to the root area only. Ivy and other such ground cover, which are planted in the shade, might require watering only once a week at the most and probably even less often. Plants and grass in shady sites require less water and fertilizer than plants in full sun. We would also suggest fertilizing only once or twice a year rather than the once a month regime you are currently using. The combination of too much water and too much nitrogen has proved to be the downfall of this plant. It would be best to remove any dead or decaying plant material as soon as possible. You may apply a fungicide but remember most fungicides are not curative; they work best as prophylactics. This means the fungicide will protect any new leaves but it will do little to help the parts of the plant currently dead or dying. If you make these changes it is possible the plant may still recover.

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Posted: July 18, 2017


Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: English Ivy, Watering


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