Q: I planted several Soft Caress mahonia shrubs last year. The plants appear to be dying now. I trimmed back the dead branches. I really like the look of these plants.
A: “Soft Caress’ is an intriguing plant. Rather than the rough, spiny leaves of leatherleaf mahonia, ‘Soft Caress’ has narrow leaves that are easy to brush past.
I planted one a couple of years ago with normal soil preparation beforehand. A rabbit ate it all the way to the ground.
So I planted another one in the same spot and used Milorganite fertilizer to deter rabbits.
More rabbit food.
I don’t know of any special care the shrub requires, other than fencing 🙂