The Q&A Archives: problems with pjm rhodendrens

Question: We planted several pjm rhodendrens last fall. We are situated in an area with alot of clay in the soil. The plants did great in the spring, blossomed and looked great. Then the leaves started curling under and the 5 out of the 7 plants died. We replaced them and now the new ones are showing the same symptoms? Is the soil, too much water, too little water? Is there anything that can be done?

Answer: There are a number of problems that can beset rhododendrons and cause foliage and wilting problems (and death), but those planted in a heavy clay soil will be very susceptible to root problems due to the poor drainage. And, there are diseases which carry over in the soil and will affect the replacement plants. If it is a disease issue, it would be unwise to replant with rhododendrons again as they too will be affected. It is also possible that the location is just not suitable for rhododendrons and you should consider planting something else there. Based on your description, I would suggest you consult with your local county extension to obtain a specific diagnosis of the problem(s) and based on knowing that, decide how to proceed. I'm sorry about your plants.

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