The Q&A Archives: Rhodie-death

Question: We live in Western NY and have 3 rhodies. 2 of them are doing fine, but the one I planted last year on the west side of the house has green on it but now is dead. My husband gave it an acid treatment, and I fed it, it has had plenty of rain, but it is dead. The green leaves just wilted, and nothing. What did I do and can I get it back? Thank you, Miriam

Answer: Rhododendrons do require an acid soil, but an alkaline soil would not cause it to wilt dramatically. Feeding an ailing plant also does not usually help unless it is lacking some specific nutrient. Rhododendrons are subject to a number of disease problems including some that would cause it to wilt and die outright. If this is the case, you will not be able to save the plant and it may be a soil borne problem exascerbated by wet weather, poor drainage, and lack of organic matter in the soil. You might want to consult with your county extension (786-2251) for a more specific diagnosis of what has happened, particularly if you think you will want to try another rhodendron in that location. I'm sorry about your shrub.

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