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Is my ceanothus truly dead or might it come back in spring?

2 months ago


I live in an area of southern California, USA, where ceanothus is native and very easy to grow. We have several around our property and they generally thrive.

However one large ceanothus shrub (I think maybe "Concha"?) seems to have mysteriously died, but as I started to cut it back, I noticed there does seem to be some green on the stem, and when I cut one small branch I saw there was at least a little bit of green at the perimeter of the cross-cut. I would have expected it to be dried out and white inside if it was truly dead.

One stem coming out of the ground still seems healthy, but the only healthy foliage at all in that shrub comes out of that one stem; all the other leaves look very dead to me. If it is dead, I wondered what the cause might be. A deer grazed the heck out of it prior to its apparent demise, but it didn't strip the leaves completely. I do sometimes have a tendency to overwater some native plants (by accident...I put the hose down, walk away, and forget to come back in a timely fashion), but this partic plant is on a hillside with very loose soil. Sometimes gophers might eat plant roots from underneath and that is a distinct possibility. And though I doubt ceanothus is bothered by extreme heat, we did have a heat wave recently where temps got to around 110 degree for a few straight days. I have seen no bugs or pests on the plant.

Anyway, whatever the cause, looks dead to me. On the other hand: I recall one time a fence lizard went through the washing machine, and looked extremely dead when I found him. Rather than dump his apparent corpse down the toilet, I put him out in the sun and he eventually groggily woke up and scurried off. So ever since my experience with "Lazarus the Lizard," I have been reluctant to assume something is well and truly dead.

Opinions wanted: Any reason to leave this ceanothus as it is and see if it sprouts new foliage in Spring? What are the odds this is a "Lazarus ceanothus"? Its that green bit on the stem that makes me wonder.

Anyway, thx for any advice or insight!


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