The Q&A Archives: Ph Level For Pachysandra

Question: I have a n area of 4 mature oaks, three seedling hemlocks and 3 mid-age beech. Last May I planted hundreds of pachysandra seedlings beneath them. They did fine through the summer but began to yellow around November. I fed them a balanced fertilizer before the snow but they have stayed yellow. My father suggested the soil may be too sweet for them so I am wonder if this is a good choice ground cover for this area, what the yellowing indicates, and what the pH level should be if this is the concern.
Thanks for you help!

Answer: Pachysandra requires lots of water and their health was probably compromised by the feeder roots of the mature trees. Oak roots will seek out water and I suspect they outcompeted your new little transplants for both nutrients and moisture. Pachysandra grows best in the pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. You may want to have the soil tested just so you know what you're working with. I think the tree roots are the real problem, not the alkalinity of your soil, but you never know! For soil testing contact UNH Cooperative Extension at (603) 862-1520.

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