help for my rhododendrons

tulips101(5a sterling il.)April 8, 2013

Im helping a friend who has 3 old rodys that are turning yellow I know part of the problem is there was that old black plastic landscaping material around the and white rock on top of that.I think iwill needto check the ph but what else would you suggest they have buds on them just look real bad.What should the ph be and how to adjust and what fertilizer to use and when im a newbie and can use all the help I can get.
I also have some pine needles at home would they help by putting around the plants then mulching over them.
Thank you

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There's an azalea & rhododendron forum, the best advice will be found there.

Get rid of the fabric & rock. pH 5.5 or slightly more acidic. repost in the rhodie forum for more experienced answers

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:03PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


you would probably have to put about 2 miles of needles on the soil.. for about 3 decades.. to substantially change pH ... though a little sure wont hurt ...

remove fabric... and stone..

get a bag of something like iponema for shrubs and rhodies.. apply per instructions ...

i know you told me in the other post.. but i cant keep track of everyone ... can you hit your own name .... and add your city to your member info.. so i can stop asking.. AND add it to the box you have 5A typed in ...

back in the day.. rhodies were one of the worst pot bound plants you could buy.. do you have any info on how it was planted???

i would simply do as per above.. and dont get carried away ... and see how it reacts.. but it will be slow to do so.. they dont grow fast ...

how bad was winter.. were they watered in drought last summer.. etc ... any other info????


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:36PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Pine needles won't change the pH. That's a gardening myth. But they do make a great mulch. Pine straw is a very popular mulch in some parts of the country.

Your friend needs to find out what the pH accurate test. If an adjustment needs to be made, using a fertilizer is not the way to go about it. I guess that ken was talking about a fertilizer.....I've never heard of iponema. Ken, do you mean Espoma?

Have a soil test done and we will be in a better position to know what to do to adjust. If these plants haven't been fertilized at all under that horrible plastic, the Azalea and Rhododendron fertilizer would be a good thing. The pH requirement isn't written in stone, though it does need to be somewhat acid.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:45PM
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A soil test is a good idea, but there can be many causes for yellowing rhododendron leaves in addition to a too-high pH. In this case, the black plastic is the likely culprit. It's preventing sufficient water from entering the soil and the rhododendrons are shedding leaves as a response to drought conditions - the first step is the yellowing.

Should a test indicate a pH above 6.0 - possible because those white marble chips are pure calcium carbonate which may have leached into the soil - ferrous sulfate is the best acidifier for rhododendrons.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:33AM
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