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I have inherited a garden in a hot and arid climate with a half-dead bush of rosemary.

As you can see in the photo below, a part of the plant is dead, but another is doing okay.

How should I deal with the plant to ensure the live part makes it? Should I simply cut away the dead parts? How should I deal with the roots?

enter image description here

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Cut off all dead wood at the base, leaving just the live stems - you don't need to do anything to the roots. You might, though, want to consider replacing the plant - it'll look pretty ugly once the dead stuff has been removed. This plant doesn't regenerate from old wood, so you won't get any new growth other than on the two existing live stems.

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Agreed. Yank it an plant a new one. – ncmathsadist Jun 10 '14 at 18:47

You can:

  1. cut off the live branches and root them (put the base in water until roots come out)

  2. remove the rest of the plant

  3. plant the newly rooted branches where the old plant was.

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