Please help! Can a 6 ft tall rhodo survive wind blasts?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Justine M, May 3, 2010.

  1. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Hi,
    I bought a 6 foot tall R. Fortunei this weekend at the Rhodo Society sale. I had the tree transported in the back of a pick-up (laid on its side) and the kind men drove slow along the highway to minimize the wind whizzing through the leaves.

    Then I put it in my back yard where we have been suffering through REALLY strong winds for 3 full days now. The poor leaves look cracked at the junction point of the stems and they are flapping around in a most un-rhodo like fashion.

    I've placed the plant beside a 6 ft. Tall fence to try to brace it from the winds, but it really is so blustery back there.

    I went to inspect the leaves (fortunei leaves are 6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide so quite big). I was shocked by how dessicated the plant is and particularly these forlorn leaves.

    I watered the container when I first got it to my place, and I will plant it out in the next day or two, but is there any hope for this plant? I didn't have it long enough to know if the leaves were this floppy/dry before this wind assault. Definitely quite different from the smaller rhodos I've had in the ground for years.

    I'm very sad and hoping you will have advice to help nurse this poor, over-stressed tree back from the brink.

    Other details are that it wont get much sun until afternoon (there's a TALL spruce to the east of it) and I've placed it right against the fence so the late afternoon sun wont be hitting it for very long. But it will be in the path of westerly winds which ordinarily are not at all strong. There are a bunch of green (dormant?) buds along the stem/trunk below where the leaves currently are, which is at the ends of the plant.

    Thanks for your advice.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Main problem liable to have been truck trip, the speed of the vehicle + the speed of whatever winds are occurring at the time is what the plant is subjected to. You can help it recover by keeping it moist and shaded. If plant is open in habit and shade-grown may not do well in a brighter location with sun beating on the root zone. Late afternoon sun is the worst as temperatures have been rising up to that point.
     
  3. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for your comments. May I ask a few more questions?

    Should I be misting the leaves? Do rhodos take in water from the leaves?

    What about the nubs along the trunk/stem? Will those become new branches or leaves if exposed to sun? This is what a rhodo society member said could happen (although I'm not certain if the person offering that info is one with a lot of experience).

    Is there anything more to be done? I forgot to mention that there is a burgeoning bamboo grove that will provide shade to the roots at the moment of afternoon sun. Oh, and it's wont be getting late afternoon but rather early afternoon sun. Still warm I know but wanted to be clear.

    Thanks,
    jm
     
  4. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Well, I came across this advice as far as misting leaves go. (Answers the question about misting leaves but I realize what created my situation is quite different). Found it at http://www.rhododendron.org/subsequentcare.htm

    "Some foliage droop is normal in dry weather, especially on warm afternoons, but when leaves still show signs of drooping in early morning, the plants are showing a need for water and should receive a good soaking. When air temperatures go above 95° F (or even lower for alpine types), rhododendrons and azaleas appreciate a misting to prevent desiccation of their foliage. In cold climates, watering or misting of foliage during warm days in the spring or on windy days when the roots are still frozen will help to keep rhododendrons in good condition."

    I planted the rhodo last night and hope the plant will survive! Guess I'll see if those nubs tune into new branches or leaves...
     
  5. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Sounds like the probable cause.

    When the sun is not too warm, I often cover with a tarp to avoid the leaves getting beat by the winds for transporting.
     
  6. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    I even had a tarp. The drivers thought the tarp would flap and shred the plant. Urgh!
     

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