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Ceanothus 'dark star' yellowing leaves in summer

8 months ago
last modified: 8 months ago

I planted a 5gal ceanothus 3 years ago in the spring, and each summer it gets yellowing leaves that drop and leave bare branches in the interior.

It was watered through the first summer, but it didn't do very well. However, the winter it bloomed profusely and grew a couple feet. The following summer, same thing – yellow leaves that fall off and leave ugly bare branches. It was watered regularly last summer as well, but I later learned I was underwatering most of my plants so it's possible it just wasn't well established yet. This past winter it grew even more, and it's now more than doubled in size. But as the summer starts, it's having the same yellowing issue. It's getting a lot more water now, about 3 gal every 5-7 days on a drip system.

I know this plant shouldn't need much, if any, summer water. This is how I ended up underwatering before. But how do I know it's established enough to lower the water? I thought last summer was soon enough, but that wasn't the case.

- it's planted on a slope facing southwest, so gets a lot of sun especially in the afternoon.

- the soil is on the clay side, but it was amended when the bed was built and ceanothus do well all over the area (other gardens, highway medians, parks and hillsides, etc.)

I'm in Oakland, CA – USDA zone 10b, Sunset zone 17.

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