Bend or snap some branches. Living wood usually won't snap, crackle
and pop like a dead branch or twig will. The bark, on a broken branch,
should give you some idea of whether it is alive or not.
Without knowing which of more than fifty species you've got, it's hard to
give useful feedback. Around here most of the gardened ceanothus are
evergreen, so if they look dead, they're dead. If you really have a
deciduous ceanothus, those usually need a hard pruning once a year (March
is idea) and I wouldn't expect the older limbs to do much. They can have a
milder pruning mid summer to get green twigs from which to root new
-paghat the ratgirl
visit my temperate gardening website:
"California lilac" (genus Ceanothus) is not a true lilac (genus
Syringa). Sunset describes Ceanothus as evergreen, which means yours is
likely dead. However, a few species do drop their leaves in especially
Instead of trying to break a branch, scrape a branch with a fingernail.
If you see green, it's still alive.
Sunset also mentions that Ceanothus is not a long-lived plant. "5 to 10
years is typical."
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
I have a ceanothus (my second). It is blooming now. But there are a
lot of different types, yours could just bloom later.
But if there are no leaves..... it's supposed to be evergreen. Break
off the branch tips until you reach wood that has some green inside.
For closer to the base of the plant use your nail.
Sorry! It may just be dead. I've hear they can just up and die after
a few years. My first one seemed fine and then just died. But I
think it was getting too much water. The one I have now is only
getting rainfall and seems OK. I should plant a few more tho, the
bees love them and they smell so wonderful when they flower.
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