Rosemary hurtin'after winter....

Philter's picture

My two rosemary bushes look a little battle damaged after  winter here in Vancouver, B.C.

What can I do to revive? Harsh pruning? Feed/ fertilize?

They're browned on the edges of the needles, and thin looking.

"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

frana's picture

(post #12785, reply #1 of 4)

I had a rosemary bush that was having some dieback last year. The more I pruned off the dead , the more it died. Eventually died completely and I had to dig it out. Someone told me it was because I pruned  without taking off some roots, that I should have pruned the roots also. I don't know if that's the reason, I never got a chance to try it. I got a new rosemary this year and put it in a large pot. I figure if it gets very very cold I can bring the rosemary inside and use it as a mini xmas tree.


LIBugGuy's picture

(post #12785, reply #3 of 4)

I think they got that reversed- if you prune off too many roots, you may need to thin foliage to cut transpiration.  But many plants will take pruning almost to the ground and come back as long as the roots are not disturbed... In any case, pruning out dead branches was a very unlikely cause of your rosemary's death. 

 When did the plant die? during the growing season, or over the winter into spring?

Poor drainage would kill the roots, and the top would slowly die.  This could happen any time during the year.

Rosemary is marginally hardy, so the roots may be killed over the winter, but the plant stays green until the weather warms up. 

Gardening in the heart of the suburban sandbar- LI NY, Zone 7ish...

Selling plants from the Orange box, and doing a little garden work on the side.

LI, NY, almost zone 7, but it's been warmer of late :)

frana's picture

(post #12785, reply #4 of 4)

yes my rosemary was lush and 3 1/2 feet high but we hadn't had a cold winter in several years. then we did have a cold winter and in spring it began dying back, my rosemary was not cold hardy either, it said on the tag. so this one i have in a pot and i will bring indoors if it gets too cold.


aberwacky's picture

(post #12785, reply #2 of 4)

I would prune out the winter-damaged parts--rosemary loves to be cut back--and wouldn't fertilize it. 

Are you seeing any new spring growth yet?  If so, your rosemary should spring back just fine.  (I'm not sure how far spring has progressed up in Vancouver, so it may take a little while longer for the rosemary to put on it's spring growth spurt).

If you continue to see dieback, the roots may have been damaged beyond repair or you may have a diseased plant.  Prune first, though, and see what happens.


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy