How to Revive Dying Shrubs: Is It Possible?

Did you visit your shrubs one day and discover their once glorious foliage starting to brown, shrivel up, or drop at an alarming rate? Don’t fret; we’re here to help.

As Charlotte’s expert shrub care crew, we at Frady Tree Care know a thing or two about proficiently tackling common landscaping woes. In this blog post, we’ll break down everything you need to know on how to revive dying shrubs and ensure that hey continue to thrive for years to come. 

Is It Too Late?

Instead of potentially wasting time and energy trying to save a lost cause, you should first investigate if your specimen is still alive. You can conduct these two easy tests:

  • Scratch method: Carefully scrape away the outer bark of a small spot near the roots using your fingernail. If you see some signs of green flesh, don’t throw in the towel yet!
  • Bending method: When you bend one main branch, does it feel flexible? When it snaps too easily, your shrub (or at least a part of it) may sadly be a goner.

Identifying the Culprit

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution on how to revive dying shrubs; every case requires a different strategy! Watch out for common causes of declining health, such as:


Does your soil feel soggy, and do you notice the leaves wilting despite having ample moisture? You likely have a case of root or crown rot.

Pull as much soil away from the base and upper roots as possible, then cover the area with fresh soil once everything dries out. You should consult an expert and have them check if you need to make soil amendments or install irrigation.


Prolonged periods of drought can also take their toll on shrubs. If the leaves have turned yellow-brown and crispy-looking, then you definitely need to give your plant a thorough watering ASAP. Give it deep, slow drinks each week until it bounces back.

As an added measure, consider applying an even layer of mulch to help the plant retain moisture. Make sure it doesn’t touch the base of the stem!

Pest Infestations

Healthy shrubs can usually fend off pesky critters on their own, but repeated infestations can take a toll. Check the leaves for small, moving insects and honeydew, the sticky, clear liquid they’ll secrete. Follow these pest control measures to ensure a speedy recovery:

  • Prune away severely infested branches with clean, sharp shears. Properly dispose of the cutting and always wipe your tool with rubbing alcohol after every trim.
  • Use insecticidal soap and dilute it as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Pour the mixture into a sprayer and evenly coat the foliage and stems of the affected shrub.
  • Wash the plant with clean water after two hours.
  • Repeat the treatment one week later if you still see insects.

Improper Plant Nutrition

Your dying shrub might suffer from plant chlorosis, a common problem in the area. If you see yellowing leaves with green veins, you should test the soil pH and make sure it lies within the 6.0 to 6.5 range. Anything lower or higher, and your plant won’t efficiently absorb iron and other essential minerals, even when present in the soil.

Bring Back Life into Your Shrubs!

When your plant’s health suddenly takes a turn for the worse despite giving it ample attention, it’s enough to make any passionate gardener feel downright discouraged. Leave the problem to our certified arborists at Frady Tree Care.

We know how to revive dying shrubs with our advanced and personalized solutions! Call (704) 644-2516 today. We also encourage you to read our blog and learn the benefits of mulching around shrubs, what to do during growing seasons, and more!


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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