One of my favourite fall perennials is fall asters. I have, over time, separated and replanted mine, so I have about six of them, in different gardens. Late this summer I noticed that just one of them was looking very dry. I didn't think all that much of it, and just started giving it extra water. It seemed that the next time I looked, the plant was completely brown and crispy. See the photo below:
I checked closely and noticed the mulch was all dug up around the bottom of the plant and the soil seemed really sandy. The sandy soil was full of red ants! The only thing I can think of is that the sand was from below the soil, and something to do with the brick retaining wall. There is no sand to be seen anywhere else.
I did some 'google research' for humane ways to get rid of red ants. There are many ways, but I decided on the 'pour boiling water on the ant hill' approach. I also decided to pull up the fall aster and disgard it. I hope that was the right thing to do. The ants seem to be gone.
This is what the healthy plant, about six feet away, looked like at the time. It should be in full bloom shortly, so I'll post a photo of it again soon.
If anyone has had a similar problem, advice, or a comment about this, I would love to hear it!
Happy Gardening, everyone.