Nandina Gulf Stream pale leaves (Seattle)

LidaRose9(8)July 26, 2012

I live in Seattle and have three of these shrubs, about 3 years old, in a dry, sunny location (on those days when we have sun!). The leaves have progressively been fading over the last year or so, and they are now pale yellow, almost cream-colored. The shrubs appear to be healthy otherwise. The shrubs have not grown or thrived, but seem to be holding their own, apart from the color of the leaves. Any advice would be most welcome. Thank you!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Evergreen/rhododendron & azalea fertilizer.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:17AM
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I would agree with bboy unless you already apply a fertilizer. The best time is February or June for a light feeding. However, when I visited with a local nursery about some pale colors on shrubs in my yard (Bellingham) he told me to add a little Dr Iron. That was last year. This year they seemed to be better.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Iron deficiency is supposed to be associated with alkalinity so I have to wonder how often applications of iron are really what is called for in this area. The usual deficiency in cultivated (gardened or landscaped) soils here is one of nitrogen. When you clear the native growth away a lot of the nutrients go with it. If you don't have a deliberate system for making up for this in operation your soil often becomes depleted - depending on what kind of soil you have.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 4:06PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I would have to agree. Nitrogen is lacking usually here more than iron. Soil structure and the amount of organic matter in the soil is my primary concern when it comes to plant health.
And drainage, of course.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There are some limestone deposits in the Bellingham area, if a party happened to live on one of these maybe iron additions might actually be appropriate. If the limestone was actually tying up iron, not necessarily the case every time it is present.

Most of the time when I encounter mention of iron being applied here or see it for sale I think it is not needed.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 1:48AM
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Local extension services tend to have differing opinions from the above :-) Iron deficiencies are not always tied to alkaline soil conditions - in fact, soils that are only mildly acidic (a relatively common PNW situation) tend to bind iron, making it unavailable for plant uptake. That's why fertilizers forumlated for acid lovers - rhodies & azaleas, camellias, blueberries, etc., all tend to have a significant iron component. Conversely, highly acidic soils have the same effect re: iron availability but through antagonism with other nutrients, typically aluminum and manganese.

As to how effective iron supplementation may be, it only takes a quick application of chelated iron (or Miracid) and the resultant almost instant "greening up" of the foliage of virtually any pale broadleaved evergreen for justification of its use.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I thought those products (ones like Miracid) had a lot of iron because they were being used by people trying to grow acid soil plants in alkaline ones. Gardenias in California, for instance.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 4:56PM
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