Rhododendrons: Spontaneous death of rhodos

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by dogfish, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. dogfish

    dogfish Member

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    Hello,
    I have three rhodos that have been in my garden over 3 years. This summer all three have spontaneously died. The first two were small plants and they made it through the winter, put on new leaves and then flowered. Shortly after flowering, they lost all of their leaves and remain as sticks.
    The third one was a very healthy and moderately large plant for it's age; also new growth, lots of flowers, made it through until last week, when now about 1/3 of the leaves have fallen off - the rest are turning brown around the edges and curling up lengthwise.
    The only change to our garden this year apart from the colder winter and the recent warm weather is the addition of a bunch of new topsoil which was mixed with mushroom manure.
    Does anyone have any suggestions? I am so sad to lose these plants - they were the foundation plants in my garden, the only evergreen plants I had :(
     
  2. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    The only thing that comes to mind is that possibly the roots got "smothered" if the new topsoil was spread too thickly on top, or if the texture of the new soil was too dense. Rhodos have a fibrous root system close to the surface of the soil, and seem to prefer a light, loamy sort of soil. But I don't know how likely this theory is.
     
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    kaspian thinking seems sound to me. i'd agree that the additional soil caused the problem.
     
  4. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    I think it could be the mushroom manure. Apparently mushroom manure reduces the acidity of the soil. Also, rhododendrons don't like too much cover over their roots...mulch is good but not too deep.
     
  5. dogfish

    dogfish Member

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    Ahh... good to know... it seemed like such a good idea at the time!
    Thanks :)
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You should not put soil over the roots of any trees and shrubs.
     
  7. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    I am sure glad you shared that, Ron, because that would be the very thing I would be apt to do!!!

    : O
     

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