Hydrangeas forum: Hydrangea

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Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
Meet you in the garden!
SusieVanEmburgh
Jul 31, 2015 5:36 PM CST
I planted a new hydrangea and it is dying faster and faster every day. It gets plenty of sun and water. It is planted near the wall of the house. Oh, and I have fertilized it as the garden center told me to with fertilizer for new plants. Here is the big question. Every plant that I plant in that area shrivels up and dies. Every one! Annuals and perennials! It is an area that really needs something really pretty. What should I do? (Short of planting silk flowers..lol)
Susie
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Jul 31, 2015 6:11 PM CST
Might be too much of " plenty of sun" for a transplant. The sun here the past couple of days is making long-established plants wilt. Your new hydrangea still needs to put down some new roots. Speaking of which - where the roots a solid mass in the pot? They might need to be teased out a bit and encouraged to spread out in the soil. Can you shade the plant until it gets used to its new spot?
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jul 31, 2015 6:18 PM CST
Perhaps you need to get the soil tested. Pesticides (termite treatments) and other chemicals may be present in the soil. It could contain large amounts of lime or other alkaline substances. Or, it may just be that that area is simply too sunny and hot? You can get soil testing kits fairly inexpensively at garden centers/big box stores. You can also probably send a soil sample to you cooperative extension/county agent.
Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
Meet you in the garden!
SusieVanEmburgh
Jul 31, 2015 6:36 PM CST
Thanks a million for your help. I truly appreciate it.:-)
Susie
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 2, 2015 11:32 AM CST
Susie, is the wall of the house there made of brick, by any chance? My mother had a flower bed like that next to a brick wall, wouldn't grow anything well. Turned out it was the mortar between the bricks leaching alkaloids into the soil. (she lived in Vancouver BC, very rainy so lots of leaching) Once she began amending the soil with peat and compost every year, it finally turned around and became more welcoming for plants.

Highly alkaline soil (high pH) actually prevents the absorption of nutrients to a lot of plants.

Also, in my experience Hydrangeas really like a more shady location. I would move the plant before it croaks entirely.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
Meet you in the garden!
SusieVanEmburgh
Aug 2, 2015 11:55 AM CST
Nope, no bricks in sight! But I think I will get the soil tested because everything I've ever planted in that spot has bit the dust. Thanks for your help though, I truly appreciate it! :-)
Susie
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Aug 2, 2015 5:52 PM CST
Let us know what you find out, Susie. Depending on the age of the house, that area could have been where materials, chemicals etc were stacked/stored during construction,.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
luis_pr
Aug 3, 2015 9:12 PM CST
Sorry to hear of this problem, Susie VanEmburgh.

Many plant nurseries sell some cheap soil pH kits that will help you determine if the soil is acid or alkaline but, if it is, it would be in the extreme if it is killing everything in there. Cement leeches lime which makes the soil alkaline. Hydrangeas tolerate some alkalinity but you have not mentioned anything regarding symptoms of alkalinity so perhaps, a formal soil test would be even more useful as it would also look for issues with others minerals or with chemicals that others have drenches into the soil... I too recommend it that test (plant nurseries or your local Agric Extension Service might be able to direct you).

And sorry for all these questions but, I was wondering if you could shed some light in a few items that I was thinking of... Answers might help me or others get ideas...

What kind of hydrangea is this? There are several types around: H macrophylla, H quercifolia (aka, oakleaf hydrangea), H. arborescens, H. paniculata, H. serrata, etc. It would also help if you know the exact variety such as H. macrophylla Endless Summer for example. If you need help with this question, browse the information on this link:

http://hydrangeashydrangeas.com/identify.html

Can you post a picture of the plant or a link to a picture of the plant?

Can you describe what symptoms make you say that it is 'dying faster and faster every day'?

You said that it gets 'plenty of sun and water'. How much water does it get per watering and how many often is it watered? If you insert a finger into the nearby soil to a depth of 4", how does the soil feel? dry, almost dry, moist, wet? Is the plant mulched? How often do you fertilize and what fertilizer do you use?

Do you have nearby a Walnut Tree (specifically Black Walnut or Juglans nigra L.) or a Butternut (Juglans cinerea L.)? These trees/shrubs produce a substance called juglone that is toxic to other plants. Juglone can be found in the all or some of the parts of the trees: leaves, roots, etc.

When was the hydrangea planted in this bed? How long have you owned this house? How long have you been unable to grow plants in this bed?
Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
Meet you in the garden!
SusieVanEmburgh
Aug 14, 2015 6:51 AM CST
Well, I believe I have solved the mystery. I had more than one problem to say the least. It seams that when they built the house they dumped anything and everything (trash, building materials, and some kind of gooey stuff that must have been putty or glue or something that looked like slimey ooze) in that spot and then covered it over with dirt. That was 20 years ago. In the meantime all that stuff made a mess of the dirt. The man at the nursery said that when he tested the soil it had more problems in it than the United Nations! He suggested that we dig out the soil and start anew. So right now we are still digging. It's a big job and my hubby and I aren't spring chickens anymore, so it's taking time. Once we have it dug out, we will have the soil tested again to make sure we got past the bad dirt and then we will have the hole filled with new "clean" dirt.
Thank you everybody for all your kind advise. I truly appreciate it. Once I am finished I will send you a picture of my new healthy plants.

Meet you in the garden,
Susie
Susie
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 14, 2015 4:39 PM CST
This was a good thread. A 20 year problem was solved in less than 2 weeks by using the combined knowledge of some ATP members.
Thumbs up Hurray!
Bet we will be seeing some nice photos in the future of this renovated garden area. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
Meet you in the garden!
SusieVanEmburgh
Aug 14, 2015 6:31 PM CST
You bet your roses you will. ;--) I'm still digging out the old dirt so by tomorrow I can start replacing it will all this beautiful rich soil I bought. Can't wait! Best of all, the nurseries are now putting the plants I love on sale! Smiling Can't wait to show them to you next year. I'll be dancing in the garden Smiling :-) Smiling :-) :-)
Susie

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