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You said they wereYou said they were mulched.What were they mulched with? If it is a heavy mulch such as bark or garden rock you will need to water for a longer period of time to get water into the roots of the plant. The"splotches",you could try a spray mist or wash of 1 teaspoon dishsoap in a gallon of water and spray for bugs,slugs,cutworms-those green catipillars.

2015 Special Edition Garden GuideCooking Fresh with The Old Farmer's AlmanacThe Almanac Monthly Digital MagazineWhat the heck is a Garden Hod?