I've had several red barberry shrubs die in an area where a tree has died. The last to die had neon yellow roots when i dug it up. The area gets sun and is watered via sprinkler system. Do you think I need to replace all of the soil before I replant in this area?
Hi, Well i doubt the dying tree had anything to do with your shrubs' demise. You don't say what kind of tree you had, but only walnuts would cause problems for plants nearby. My guess is that the barberries were weakened to begin with if they were growing so close to a tree because barberries require full sun (at least 6 to 8 hours a day). I'd also look at your soil's drainage. If you are using an irrigation system is that ground being too soaked? Does it drain well or does it feel soggy all the time? Wet roots can cause a lot of plants to die. But, even if the soil is too wet, if those trees and shrubs have been growing there for many years, I'd probably add some fresh topsoil and a lot of organic matter such as compost and/or rotted manure to the area to freshen the space. It won't hurt new plantings and can only make the area more welcoming for new plants.