Q Will prun­ing back re­vive my drought-af­fected ‘Black Pearl’ shrub?

Garden News (UK) - - The Problem Solver -

David Betch­ley, Cam­bridge A Lophomyr­tus ral­phii ‘Black Pearl’ is a small, bor­der­line hardy, ever­green shrub with rounded, puck­ered, dark pur­ple leaves and small pink flow­ers. Re­lated to myr­tle – it’s a hy­brid of two species na­tive to New Zealand – it makes a com­pact, up­right shrub to 1.5m (5ft) that needs good soil in par­tial shade.

To check if it’s still alive and will re­cover, scrape the bark on one or two of the shoots. If it’s dry and brown be­neath then that shoot is dead. Con­tinue down the plant to see if you can re­veal creamy-white, moist tis­sue be­neath the bark. If so, wait un­til next spring when you can prune the dead shoots back. It should reshoot well.

How­ever, if it’s brown be­neath the bark to the base of the plant it’s dead.

Lophomyr­tus ral­phii

‘Black Pearl’ is a pre y shrub na­tive to New Zealand

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