Sunday, May 27th, 2007...7:24 am

Rhododendron Blues

                                                                     

TheGardenLady received this question from Abe:

I have this Rhododendron in my front yard that is not blooming, and seems sick, and I don’t know why.  My neighbor says that it has a fungus on it.  Do you have any ideas about how to cure an unhealthy rhododendron? 

There are many good sites on the web that talk about typical rhododendron problems.  Here’s one good site about  rhododendron problems that might be of help.

However the best way to find out what is happening to your rhododendron is to take in a good sized sample of your rhododendron WITH the dying parts of the plant to your local Master Gardener Extension office to have your specific problem identified. The MGs will tell you if your problem is a typical problem and if it is, how to handle it. They will recommend solutions. The MGs prefer a non chemical solution. Without seeing a sample, TheGardenLady can just guess what is wrong.

Also, it might be time to get a soil test of the soil around your rhododendrons. You can get this soil test kit when you go to the Master Gardener Office and they will tell you how to use it.  Rhododendrons need an acid soil to thrive.

But you can try general maintenance to try to boost the rhododendron’s health. Some advice on non chemical cures can be found here.  Cut off any dead leaves, branches and buds. Water the plants well. And get a rhodo fertilizer to give the plants some nutrients. June is a good month to fertilize.  But don’t over fertilize.   See here.

Also, put  mulch around the root- not on the trunk- a good triple chopped hardwood mulch, ask for it at your good garden supply place. Just put a few inches of mulch, don’t pile it too high. This will help retain moisture and will help keep out competing weeds and then will decompose to become a nutrient.

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