PJM rhodo trouble

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by bux, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. bux

    bux Member

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    surrey bc
    This early summer i planted 5 PJM rhododendron in a garden patch which receives intense afternoon sun. The plants started looking poor with orangey brown leaf edges followed by leaf curl soon after planting. Although I took care to water throughout the summer, I'm not sure if a couple of them will make the winter.

    I was told that this PJM variety was hearty in that it could withstand intense heat and sun.

    It seems nothing I plant in this yard location does well. Prior to planting the PJMs, I removed a camelia which was suffering in the same spot. I pruned and potted the camelia and moved it to a shadier backyard area where it is thriving.

    If there is a chance for reviving the PJMs should I relocate them before winter or wait for Spring? I still don't know if it is the just a poor location, poor soil, or watering issues. What should I replant in the location?

    Trees and recently planted blue star junipers have thrived in the location

    Kinda at a loss on how to proceed?
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Since the drainage-sensitive junipers are making it probably the root zones of the rhododendrons became too hot. Or they were previously infected with a water mold that kept working on them in the new planting site, even though it may not have been particularly damp.

    As with heathers commercial plantings (parking strips etc.) of 'PJM' here are often seen dying out over time, with maybe a few looking okay, some obviously on the way out (or already dead) and with others falling in the middle. This will almost certainly be due to unsuitable soil conditions in every instance, with water molds causing the gradual decline. Usually you must have well-aerated, free-draining soil that does not heat up markedly in summer to keep the popular types of heath family ornamental shrubs going.

    An apparent exception would be hot climate adapted evergreen azalea hybrids grown in regions where other types cannot survive even in full shade, due to high soil temperatures.

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