The Q&A Archives: Two Plants Almost Dead

Question: I bought a rhododendron and a globe blue spruce. They did fine until we had a few hot days this summer. The soil has ALWAYS been very moist. The rhody is just about gone. The leaves turned brown and fell off. I kept it covered with a sheet during hot days but now it's in full shade. Baby Blue Globe has brown needles and looks just dreadful. HELP!! What do I do now?

Answer: I think providing shade from hot afternoon sunshine is a good idea for your rhodie. Although they will grow in full sun in mild climates, your hot summer sunshine might be a bit too much for it. Now that it is receiving more shade, it might rebound. Rhodies like rich, moist, acidic soils. They don't like wet feet, though, as they can develop root rot. Since you've recently moved it, all you can do now is wait to see if you moved it in time.

Browning needles on a spruce can indicate sun scald, over watering, insect or disease problems, or over fertilization. You'll have to carefully inspect your plant and eliminate the causes. Allow the top inch of soil to dry before thoroughly watering your plants; withhold fertilizer, and check for insect problems. Next spring you can prune away the dead plant parts in hopes that new growth will appear.

Wish I had more positive information for you!

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