Rhododendrons: New Rhododendron owners need help

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by tosh, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. tosh

    tosh Active Member

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    Bowser B.C.
    Hi
    About 6 weeks ago we were given 16 full size rhododendron's from a garden with a new owner who doesn't like them ,they are at least 15 years old and around 5 -6' tall. Unfortunatly they were dragged out of the ground before we had chance to dig and move them carefully , they ,all but one ,seem to have survived .
    As we are having a very dry summer we have no idea how often to water them ,we watered steadily for the first week and then switched to weekly ,but they started to look limp ,with browning and droopy leaves ,so we've gone back to watering every morning.
    How long should we keep this up or are we overdoing it ,should we fertilize and if so when?
    We are by the ocean on Vancouver Island , the shrubs are planted in semi shade , we'd hate to loose them now.
    Any help would be great ,thanks.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Poke around in the rootballs to make sure they are moist, water often enough to keep them moist. Mulch to shade the soil, this should just about always be done when planting ornamentals and rhododendrons are in addition vulnerable to heating of the roots by hot sun beating on the soil beneath them. New transplants with inadequate roots might also need something rigged up to shade the tops for awhile, perhaps a year or more. Recovery of roots to the point where the tops return to normal could take months, if the tops have already become damaged then it could drag the process out longer - plants in poor condition establish slowly, if ever. "Bargain" plants bought on sale may dog paddle for years, then die.
     
  3. tosh

    tosh Active Member

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    Thanks for the info Ron , we really don't want to loose these plants .
    The very top leaves where the flowers were are standing upright and seem healthy enough ,but the lower leaves are very droopy.We'll poke around to see if the roots are damp ,mulch them and see what happens.They are shaded by big conifers most of the day but late afternoon they get the sun.
    Thanks again
     
  4. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    the area you replanted them in should be fairly shaded...most especially in the afternoon.

    rhody's will do okay in full sun for a short while in the afternoons once they are well-established. before then, you really need to keep them shaded from the harsh afternoon sun.

    water the root ball AND water at the drip-line so that the roots start to grow outwards towards the moisture. the drip-line is the area beneath the outmost portion of the branches.
     
  5. tosh

    tosh Active Member

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    Hi Joclyn
    Thanks for the reply ,we're trying to figure out a way to shade them ,going to get some mulch for the roots but shading the rest is going to be a challenge.
    Would twice a week deep watering do the trick or not so deep every morning ?
    Thanks again
     
  6. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    i would do a deep watering every 3-4 days and then a light watering in between if it's particularly hot and dry.

    definitely get some mulch down as that will help retain the moisture! just don't put the mulch right up against the base of the trunks...leave an inch or two of space.
     
  7. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Might help a little to deadhead them, removing seed heads, if not already done.
     

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