is there any hope for my rhododendron?

allthumbs75August 9, 2010

I've had a rhododendron in the front of my house for 5 or 6 years. After the first few, it started looking really sparse, and chunks of it began dying off. This spring, I moved the sick plant to the back yard shade, where it's doing a little better, and put a new capistrano rhody in the same place in the front. It's dying quickly. Leaves are curling up, the ones underneath are turning brown branch by branch, and even the upper branches are looking yellow and spotted.

When I bought the new plant, it had some yellowish branches underneath, and a few spots on the leaves. The nursery said it was from watering the plants when they were packed in tight on display, but that it would go away. I was careful to water it faithfully for the first several weeks, and tried to water the base of the plant, rather than from the top.

When it started to look worse, I was told that I may be over watering, so I mostly stopped. We haven't had much rain, and it has still not improved.

I have very sandy soil, and it's pretty hot out there for several hours in the afternoon. I have trouble keeping anything else watered enough. It's hard to believe this could have root rot... but watering did not seem to help.

How can I tell if this is root rot, drought, or something else?

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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

Capistrano is more prone to fungal root diseases than many other rhodendrons, so it's entirely possible it was already infected when you bought it. These root diseases flourish when the soil is overly wet and hot. Plants at the nursery in black containers placed in direct sun and overwatered can and do develop it rapidly.

Your sandy soil should supply the good drainage and aeration Capistrano needs as long as you did not plant it too deeply, but extended periods of direct sun are not good for any yellow flowered rhodendrons. Even if they grow OK - which most will not - direct sun bleaches out the yellow color.

If the nursery where you bought the plant offered any kind of warranty, I'd use it and replant in an area of more shade.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 5:23AM
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Thanks for the response.

If I move the capistrano and replant something else there, is there a danger that the new plant will become infected as well?

It gets afternoon sun for 2-3 hours. Any suggestions for other varieties that can handle a bit more sun, or other flowering evergreens that might do well there?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 1:35PM
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I bought a rhodedendron and also a azalia plant, we bought the proper soil to plant it in but the plant has lost all its leaves and looking pretty dead, what did I do wrong?
Did it have too much sunshine?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:52AM
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It's really impossible to help without more information. Such asvariety, planting technique, your local weather, appearance of the plants, etc.,etc.,etc.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:51AM
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