*%@# sheep!

pyrgal(z6mo)December 18, 2006

Recently my sheep got out and ate all the leaves and buds to my rhodo and azalea! I've not had much lucky with either in the past and finally had a couple that actually survived and looked as if they would bloom for the first time next spring BEFORE......

Will this winter "pruning" kill my plants?

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

It depends. If the plants were healthy, then they will come back. However, they will be weakened. If it were to happen again next spring after the new leaves come out, it could kill the plants.

I would be concerned about the sheep. Rhododendrons and azaleas are toxic to many animals, some varieties are more toxic than others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rhododendron and Azalea Toxicity

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 8:24AM
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Thanks for the link, interesting reading! I knew about the toxicity but the plants were small and I imagine each sheep probably only took a nibble. The honey aspect was new to me though.

With my luck on Rhodo I expect the plants to die. I keep saying I won't try anymore but they are so pretty!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 6:20AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

U of Missouri on rhododendrons and azaleas - "Most of Missouri does not have their preferred climate, so selecting a good site is very important.

A site sloping to the north or east is usually best, because it is protected from drying south and west winds.

Always plant azaleas and rhododendrons where they get wind protection. Buildings and slopes provide good barriers. Evergreen shrubs or trees such as pine, juniper or spruce planted to the south or west of rhododendrons protect them and make good backgrounds for showing off the flowers.

Plants not given protection from the wind often develop leaf scorch or splitting of the bark on the stems. Avoid corners of buildings where wind tends to be stronger.

Many people think of azaleas and rhododendrons as shade lovers. Yet dense shade is not satisfactory. Filtered sunlight is ideal, but morning sunlight with shade after 1 p.m. is satisfactory.

Some deciduous azaleas are less sensitive to full sun and should be used if the location is not suitable for evergreen types.

Soil and its preparation
Proper placement alone is not enough. Azaleas and rhododendrons must have soil that is prepared carefully and thoroughly. Don't expect good results from plants set in existing soil in most areas. Roots of azaleas and rhododendrons are very delicate and unable to penetrate heavy or rocky soils.

Starting the bed
Planting azaleas and rhododendrons in groups rather than individually permits more efficient use of prepared soil. Don't place the bed close to shallow-rooted trees such as maple, ash or elm.

For best results, dig out the bed 18 inches deep and at least 30 inches wide.

If drainage is poor, build a raised bed at least a foot above ground level.

Soil acidity
Azaleas and rhododendrons must have an acid soil. Most of them thrive best at a soil pH between 5.0 and 5.5. In Missouri, most soils have a native acid reaction. However, alluvial or river bottom soils may have a more alkaline reaction and need to be made more acid to grow azaleas and rhododendrons well."

Here is a link that might be useful: Proven Performers for Missouri

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 10:51AM
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