Rhododendrons: Help with my Rhodes..

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Marn, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi There..

    we just bought this house and I have 2 Rhode bushes in the front yard and in the shade .. they have not been taken care of for a few years .. can these guys be saved..??? the one with no leaves did have a couple on them .. and i took them off cause it looked like it had some mildew .. can it be cut back to get it to start to bloom ?? and the other one looks like it might be getting some new shoots .. what can i do to save these 2 guys .. i love Rhodes .. and have always wanted them .. I would hate to get rid of them ...

    thanks in advance ..

    Marion
     

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  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    rhododendron usually keep their leaves over winter here in zone 6. not sure what zone you're in or how severe the winter was in your area. so the leafless state may be normal for your area...or just because of a really severe season.

    could also be because there's some issue going on...did you move in before last fall or did you just move in now? if you were there in the fall, could you tell us what condition the bushes where in then? that would be helpful.

    i wouldn't prune back anything. i don't think it would promote any growth (i could be wrong though) and they're not that big/unwiedy to need any shaping.

    as the spring progresses, you'll see some budding out, as you've already noted on the one. the other one may not be as mature and may start to bud-up later. if the other one doesn't put out anything by the time the warmer weather is firmly in place, then that one would be a goner and you'll have to remove it. time will tell :)
     
  3. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    We just moved in .. and it did have a coupe of leaves on it .. but notheing anywere else ... I sure am hopeing it comes back ...

    thanks for your help ..

    Marion
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Specimens shown look dead to me. Maybe they simply died from lack of summer irrigation. Or there was another unsuitable condition present - rhododendrons and azaleas have rather specific soil and exposure requirements.

    Since mildewing of rhododendrons (other than azaleas) is now ubiquitous in my area I would be wary of this if considering future plantings of rhododendrons there. Susceptibility varies, it may be possible to get reasonably acceptable results on some sites with certain more resistant kinds. Here these appear to consist mostly of old, gaudily colored stereotypic "K Mart Rhody" cultivars derived from Sec. Pontica species. More recent and exciting or lovely kinds seem unfortunately to be among the most susceptible, liable to be completely defoliated and die within a few years after infestation occurs - unless sprayed thoroughly several times every spring with a rotating selection of suitable fungicides.
     
  5. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    Ron ... im pretty sure it was neglect ... the orginal owner died ..she was an old lady and i dont think she looked after anything for a few years as she wasnt able .. and then they had family members living here that didnt care about anything ..one person with kids that destroyed stuff in the house and yard ..

    well i hope it does come back with some TLC .. i will give it this year .. and if not they are going ..

    Marion
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I think you will not see any additional growth from these.
     
  7. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    so, ron, i'm correct in my thought that they should keep the leaves through winter, even in a colder environment than i'm in here?

    marion, i'd just hold of doing anything for the moment. spring is just starting, so anything is possible...it's even possible that the kids pulled the leaves off last fall and the bushes are actually okay. if the root system is established and in good shape you may see leaves on existing growth and it's possible you will see new growth come up from the base.

    one thing you can do, that may give you some guidance/peace of mind, is to lightly/gently bend the limbs. if they give slightly and seem 'supple' then they're probably okay. if they break off, then that portion is dead and i'd say you could do some trimming back of that part - hopefully you'd find good wood somewhere down towards the base.

    regardless, within 6 weeks you'll know what's going on with them - they'll either put new leaves out or they won't (and then you can remove them).

    they're not all that large so the location may not be right for them, as ron mentioned,...and, if they are dead, you should definitely look at the conditions in that spot (soil type, sun level, drainage) before you decide what (another rhody or something else) to replant in the spot.
     
  8. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks Joc ...

    ya im gonna hold off on digging them up and wait and see what happens .. and you could be right about what the kids did .. and i know they were bad .. dont mean to talk about the kids this way .. but they had nail polish all over the bathroom and the back bedroom .. the mom didnt watch them at all .. not to mention the oter stuff they did to the house .. but we got it cheap .. a 3 bdr 1 1/2 bth single wide on a 100x100 foot fenced in lot wich is ours not no pad rental or anthing like that .. for $24,000 cant beat that .. and it is paid for outright .. no more rent and no mortgage ..

    and you shoulda also seen the junk that was all over the yard .. the nieghbourhood did not like them .. they even damaged some of the rose bushes in the front and bakc yard .. i have about 20 rose bushes .. but they will all bloom .. veggie garden area and a flower garden area .. plus alot of planting spaces in the yard ...
    i just want to make the yard look nice .. it had so much potential ..

    Marion
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    What you have there is dead examples of evergreen rhododendrons.
     
  10. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    wow, marion! what a steal of a deal - even if you have a lot of work to clean things up and get the gardens back in shape!!

    the roses will be just fine - you can do a severe pruning (down to about 2 feet tall) and they'll come back with a vengance. either do it now or wait until late fall when they are back in dormant stage. if you want to move any of them, now is the time or wait until late fall to do it.

    take your time about fixing the yards up...it's SO easy to go all gung-ho about it and end up completely overboard. best thing is just live with it for the season and you'll get to know what's where and also get an idea of what you want to do - using what's already there, whether you move it or keep it where it is and what new things you want to add in.

    when you do start doing things, focus on one or two areas and get them basically completed and then move on to another area and so on. geting basics/base plants done first will allow you to fine-tune what you want to do.

    you'll learn as you go along and realize something or other won't work and you'll see things that you hadn't even considered in the first place and they'll be the types of things that become 'must haves' and you may even completely change your plans half-way through. so, pace yourself and take your time :) no garden is ever really 'done'.
     
  11. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    Ya we sure jumped on this property ... it is big .. i know 100x100 dont sound big but it is .. if you look at the thread i posted in "Conifers" about a blue spruce .. you will see just the front yard ...and that aint even all of it .. the front is sectioned off from the back so all my dogs cant go in the back .. we just got 2 jack Russell puppies .. 9 weeks old now and they love being in the front yard .. all dogs wont get to go in the back .. cause of all the gardening ... veggies and flowers.. and a apple and plum tree .. and a few other trees/bushes in the back .. with the garden area that some stuff are popping up and i also have a iris bed with some tulips comeing up inbetween them .. and a domestic blackberry bush growing up on a arbor .. the property alone is worth more then what we paid .. it was an estate and the kids just wanted to sell .. they had been trying to sell for a year .. they orginally wanted $36K but when you wave a big amount in there face they took it .. and paid for ..
    I also have a neighbouor behind me that does gardening and she has been helping me with the veggie garden .. her son allready tilled part of the garden area and he is going to do more for me .. next year i may not have my veggie garden area as my husband wants to build a shop in that area but he is giving me this year to have the veggies .. he also wants them to ... lol

    I just hope i can save alot here .. i love rhodes and would like to get more if these guys dont make it ..

    thanks for all the help..

    Marion
     

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