Dying Daphne Odora

Asked March 20, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT

I had a deck built near my small daphne bush, which I believe was showered by the sawdust in the process. It is now dying, has one leaf. What can I do to save it

Clackamas County Oregon

3 Responses

Thank you for your question to Ask the Expert.

Daphne odora tends to be a short-lived shrub. How long has the plant been in it's current location? If more than 7-10 years or so, it might be natural decline. Also, has the deck created more shade for the plant? If so, it might not have gotten enough sun last season to produce new growth this year. If you scrape away the bark on branches that have not leafed out and see brown, then that part of the plant is dead. If it is green, the plant is still alive and might recover on its own.

As for the sawdust, small amounts of sawdust from pressure treated wood from construction likely would not affect the health of the plant.

If the plant is older, you might need to replace it.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.


thank you for your response. The daphne plant is 4 years old, and is in soil that is fairly poor, and clay-ish. How would I go about amending the soil to make it grow better. It is in partial sun.

Thanks for your additional question to Ask the Expert.

Ammedning soil after a plant is in the ground can be accomplished by adding compost to the surface of the soil and scratching it in without disrupting the root system of the plant. Make sure to keep the compost away from the stems such that you do not introduce conditions that favor diseases. You could also add slow release fertilizer at this time as well. Follow the label instructions.

In general, it is highly recommended to amend poor, clayey soils before planting by adding a thick layer of compost and digging it in as deeply as possible.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.