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Rescuing Purple Sand Cherry

My Purple Sandcherry Shrubs Have Died Back To Almost Nothing.
What Has Happened?

By Jay Mclaren


Purple Sandcherry, famous for its dark wine coloured leafs, is one of the many victims of the extreme cold winter that we have had last season. Many other shrubs, mostly evergreens, have had severe winter damage. Purple Sandcherry, normally very hardy in this area has had in some cases, many dying back right down to the ground. In this case, the plant may not have survived at all or it may have late spring growth from the root.

In most cases though, the plant has not been completely winter killed. By now, new shoots should be growing on the lower branches near the ground. If so, it is time now to prune off all of the woody stocks that do not have growth on them.

Unfortunately, for a 6 or 7 foot plant, that may mean cutting the plant down to as low as a foot from the ground. While this will seriously reduce the size of the plant, it will recover very quickly.

The entire root system underground is usually still healthy, and so, it will be only feeding the reduced plant. As a result, all of that energy goes into less plant material, and fast vigorous growth results. A light feeding right away will help to ensure the plant regains strength.

Because this new growth is all very tender, it may be a good idea to wrap these plants this fall for protecting over winter. Once these new shoots have gone through one winter they should be hardy enough so that the shrub will not need covering in the future.