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Rhododendron issues

Hi, I planted 3 new Rhododendron's in July making sure to plat shallow they were planted in a bed amongst other successful rhododendrons. 2 were Roseum Elegans whose leaves are browning drastically. the area is on a decline and drainage is not an issue. the other newly planted rhododendron seems unaffected. I bought these plants quite large and am fearful of them dieng on me and the money being wasted. 

please see below link for photos


  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,226
    edited November 2021
    I wonder if the root ball was allowed to dry out before you planted it.
    Sometimes growers use a very peaty type mix that is almost impossible to get wet again once it has dried out.
    It needs to be put in a bucket of water and left for ages until saturated.
    Once root ball is too dry  and you plant it in the soil even if you watered regularly the water will not be absorbed.

    Are the buds still healthy?
    Hopefully with time it will recover.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • Thank you for your response, buds look healthy at the moment, would you suggest watering with a wetting agent or just leaving and seeing how things go. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,827
    Rhododendrons need a lot of water between August and late autumn as this emulates the Monsoon season in their homelands and is the period when they're setting flower buds for next year.   Shortage of water will abort the flowers and, if it continues, lead them to drop leaves too.

    I don't think a wetting agent will be needed but you could try sinking a pipe or two around the root balls and watering into those so the water goes in around the roots and doesn't just run off.  Water long and slow and at least 15 to 20 litres at a time, not just dribbles.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,343
    They don't look too dreadful
     Agree once planted in the ground,they need an awful lot of water. They also look to be under trees which will sap any more water from them
  • Thank you all for you detailed responses. Will give them a long gradual water and see how things go. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,827
    Once you're sure they've had a good soak put some organic mulch around the base of the plants to help retain the moisture and encourage helpful soil organisms to move in.

    You can buy soil improver/manure in bags at good DIYs and GCs or just use cheap multi-purpose compost if you don't have your own garden compost or source of manure.  Make sure it doesn't go right up to the trunk tho as that may cause rotting.  leave a 2-3cm/1 inch gap round the main stem.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Hopefully after one good, slow, gentle soak the UK weather in autumn /winter should do the rest for you.
    Composted bark is what I use round my Rhodo's.
    Supresses weeds and retains moisture at the roots.
    Rhodo roots are very shallow/near the surface. 
    They hate to dry out.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
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