Ask a Question forum: *URGENT* Rhododendron HELP NEEDED!!

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Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 19, 2016 4:00 PM CST
I have a Rhododendron that has been barely hanging in there. We have had a drought since March and the last time it rained at my house was September 18th .... SINCE MARCH!!! I lost two rhodies and this is the last one. Bless it's green lil heart.

The problem is, our temps are dropping down to 29°F tonight after being 82°F yesterday and 77°F the day before. Does this plant need protection from the frost? Do I need to do anything to protect it?

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"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
[Last edited by GardenGoober - Nov 19, 2016 4:18 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 19, 2016 5:13 PM CST
Have you been watering the plants? They look very parched indeed. If the plants have/had adequate watering the frost would not be a problem. If the plants are already dehydrated, well, maybe it's too late.
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Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
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plantcollector
Nov 19, 2016 5:18 PM CST
You don't need to do anything to protect from a frost or freeze. The leaves usuall droop in colder temperatures. But water would be good maybe you can get some gator bags to help you get though the drought.
Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 19, 2016 7:13 PM CST
greene said:Have you been watering the plants? They look very parched indeed. If the plants have/had adequate watering the frost would not be a problem. If the plants are already dehydrated, well, maybe it's too late.


I water it every day but it never seems to respond. I wonder if it's due to the clay/rock we have for soil?!
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 19, 2016 7:16 PM CST
plantcollector said:You don't need to do anything to protect from a frost or freeze. The leaves usuall droop in colder temperatures. But water would be good maybe you can get some gator bags to help you get though the drought.


There is a hose sitting at the bottom of the hill. It gets watered every day, it just never LOOKS like it's been watered. The other two I lost were watered every few days through the drought but they just shriveled up and died. One was in shade, the other was in full sun all day. This one gets some sun every day but mostly shade. Odd. Never had so much trouble with plants as I've had with these. Crying
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Nov 19, 2016 7:20 PM CST
Your plant does not look unhealthy to me; as Heath said the drooping leaves are a normal response to cold. Be careful not to drown it.
Porkpal
Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 19, 2016 7:21 PM CST
porkpal said:Your plant does not look unhealthy to me; as Heath said the drooping leaves are a normal response to cold. Be careful not to drown it.

Ok. Thank you!! Smiling
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
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plantcollector
Nov 19, 2016 7:26 PM CST
I never had any luck with rhododendrons.. I think there is a disease they get and I believe it causes then to look like yours. I could be wrong so hopefully someone will chime in that knows more about rhododendrons
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 19, 2016 7:27 PM CST
Tori, you really need to water that baby until the leaves perk up. Stand there with the hose for half an hour and soak the entire area around the plant in a 5ft. circle really deeply. Then do it again the same day. Keep doing this until the leaves start looking alive again - not drooping.

It's not only dealing with drought conditions and terrible soil it's also competing with the other trees' roots in that spot. The cold weather will slow down the other trees from drinking quite so much since they've lost their leaves now, that will help.

But you MUST re-hydrate the rhodie or it's a goner for sure. Once you have the leaves perked up again, 3 or 4 wheelbarrow loads of compost piled all around the base of the plant (not against the trunk but as a top dressing will help a lot to make the soil hold more water. The organic fibers will work their way down into the clay/rock and act like little sponges, absorbing water down there so the roots can get it before it races by and disappears.
Elaine

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Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 19, 2016 7:31 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Tori, you really need to water that baby until the leaves perk up. Stand there with the hose for half an hour and soak the entire area around the plant in a 5ft. circle really deeply. Then do it again the same day. Keep doing this until the leaves start looking alive again - not drooping.

It's not only dealing with drought conditions and terrible soil it's also competing with the other trees' roots in that spot. The cold weather will slow down the other trees from drinking quite so much since they've lost their leaves now, that will help.

But you MUST re-hydrate the rhodie or it's a goner for sure. Once you have the leaves perked up again, 3 or 4 wheelbarrow loads of compost piled all around the base of the plant (not against the trunk but as a top dressing will help a lot to make the soil hold more water. The organic fibers will work their way down into the clay/rock and act like little sponges, absorbing water down there so the roots can get it before it races by and disappears.


Will do. Thank you Elaine. I brought the other two back and got refunds. If this one ends up croaking, I'll just get a new one in the spring, but I'm really trying to save this one. Hopefully, next year we'll get some rain!! Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers! Rolling my eyes.
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Nov 19, 2016 11:35 PM CST

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What kind of soil is it planted in? Rhododendrons are acid loving plants. They need well-draining soil with an abundance of organic matter.

Some tips from the Rhododendron Society of irrigation and soil:
https://www.rhododendron.org/i...
https://www.rhododendron.org/s...
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Nov 20, 2016 7:44 AM CST
I agree with dyzzypyzzy
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Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 27, 2016 10:12 PM CST
Calif_Sue said:What kind of soil is it planted in? Rhododendrons are acid loving plants. They need well-draining soil with an abundance of organic matter.

Some tips from the Rhododendron Society of irrigation and soil:
https://www.rhododendron.org/i...
https://www.rhododendron.org/s...


Ha! They're planted in red clay and rock. Drainage hasn't been a problem since it hasn't rained since September 19th!!! I did add some organic matter into the hole before I put the plant in. And this past weekend, I added compost and wood chips around the plant. It has perked up a bit as I've increased the amount of water it's getting. I will check out the links. Thanks!
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
Name: Tori
Dallas, GA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Bee Lover Beekeeper Organic Gardener Roses
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GardenGoober
Nov 27, 2016 10:18 PM CST
sallyg said:I agree with dyzzypyzzy

Thanks! I've followed her advice and it has started to perk up. Hurray!

"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

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