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I'm new to gardening and I just planted up an new border and added fish & bone meal to each plant. Now they are dying off and it seems from my internet research that I might have overdone the fertilizer! My question is should I dig up the remaining plants before they too start to die off? Should I water copiously in the hope of diluting the fertilizer? What's the best approach? I don't want to do nothing and watch all my hard earned pennies die off! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I doubt whether you will have done any damage, Helen. The rain will wash it through the soil in time. When I was a child my dad told me to put bone meal on the soil where he was going to plant his spuds. I tipped the lot on and got a thick ear for it. But the spuds turned out the size of rugby balls.

A lot of fertiliser in dry comditions is not good for plants.  If its dry I would water well.  Did you apply fish blood and bone plus bone meal separately?  

What plants are there now?  


I feel sorry for anyone who started gardening in the last year or two - the plants don't know if they're coming or going with the weather there's been! As Verd and wb say - a good soaking is probably the best bet to start with and see what happens after that. Depends on the soil and aspect  that you have as well as the type of plants, so if you can give us a bit more info - pix if you can  - it'll help a lot. We all had to learn when we started out Helen, so don't worry - there's  plenty of very helpful and knowledgeable people here who will give you advice 

Yep, agree with all of that.  

As beginners we want to find magical fertilisers that promise vigorous growth and huge flowers.  Then we learn.......a little fertiliser and moderate watering and allow the plant to grow slowly and surely. its own way and time.  

Organic fertilisers generally are ."safer" though.  They tend to release nutrients more slowly over a longer period.  



Been converted to pelleted chicken manure this year and have had much better plants, will use it in future I think.

Thank you all so much for your advise.  I have been watering trying to dilute the fertilizer, but some plants seem to be far worse than others.  I have attached pictures of the plants which show just how bad it is. Photos: Cornus Elegantissima, Weigela Florida nana Variegata, Hypericum Hidcote & Clematis Voluceau. I have now moved these 3 plants to a 'compost only' bed in the hope this will help them recover. The leaves are now completely dead, but I don't know if the plants are dead? Any chance they may grow new leaves?





Wow, Helen!! Just how much blood fish and bone meal did you pour onto these plants?

Just a question. Before you noticed that they were dying, had you been watering them assiduously and taking as much notice and care of them as you did after you noticed the dieback? It just seems a very strong reaction for them to have had to a fertiliser made from organic materials, unless you smothered them with it.

I think perhaps they were in need of more watering before the fertiliser fest.

As to what to do next, I would watch their stems and branches for signs of shrivelling. Leaves can drop off a stressed plant but that doesn't mean that it is dead or dying. Shrivelled or browning of the stems generally does. Watch and wait.

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