Are our Japanese pachysandras dead?

Asked May 11, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

We planted hundreds of Japanese pachysandras along the edge of our asphalt driveway. For two years, they were lovely, and bounced back each spring. After this winter, however, many of the plants are dried brown, and appear to be dead. Can I simply cut off the top of these plants, and hope their root systems are still alive, or are they dead?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for your question.

By now, your pachysandra should be lush and green and blooming. Examine the plants to see if there is any green growth emerging from the plant. If there isn't, you most likely have lost your crop. You may have to replace plants or interplant with other shade-loving plants.

This past winter was cold and dry with little snow cover to insulate evergreen plants like Pachysandra. Also, if you covered these pants with snow along your driveway, The snow may have had salt in it which could burn the plant leaves.

Changes in light may also affect this shade ground cover. Note if you changed the landscape in some way (i.e. removed a tree) and consider planting more sun-loving plants in lieu of pachysandra.