Last month we planted a new hedge of variegated griselinia. We bough the plants online from Hedges Direct, and were very pleased with the quality and condition. The hedge seemed to settle in and be doing well, with plenty of rain.
About a week ago we put a mulch of bark chippings (Verve, from B&Q) around them to suppress weeds. The chippings seemed a bit damp and a little mouldy in parts, but when we had done, the hedge looked great. Then couple of days ago we gave it all a good watering with the hose, as it hasn't rained a lot.
Today we noticed that most of the young leaves on the new shoots had gone dark and soft. I rang Hedges Direct, who said that bark chippings can cause problems, as the wood may have been treated with various chemicals, which get absorbed by the plants.
So we have spent the whole afternoon doing as thye suggested: removing the bark, trimming back the damaged shoots, applying some bonemeal feed, and watering it well to flush through any bad stuff. We don't know if this will work. If we lose the hedge I'll be devastated.
Has anyone else had an experience like this? We have used bark chippings before, but probably not on young, newly planted shrubs. I will take the remaining bark back to the store and complain, but we have spent many hours applying and then removing it, with nothing to show for our efforts except a sickly hedge.