Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by cutntrim, Jun 19, 2001.

  1. cutntrim

    cutntrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    Customer has some dead rhodos in her backyard she wants replaced. I told her no problem, but she might be better with a different plant choice.

    The area they're planted in receives partial sun, has clay soil, and is wet. Poor drainage. They're in a garden bed that we added cedar mulch to a couple of weeks ago. Previously it hadn't been mulched.

    The Rhodos died over the winter. So should I replace them with new ones and try to raise the bed height? Or would another choice be more appropriate? Zone 4-5 BTW.
  2. curlawngreen

    curlawngreen Banned
    Messages: 309

    They don't like wet feet.
  3. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    You need to provide drainage. Then I would go with Clethra alnifolia (Summer sweet) . If you replant Rhodos in clay make shure you don't warrenty them. Rhodos need Ph 4.5 - 5.5 to do well. Clay generally has a high Ph and is resistant to ammendment, even with Aluminum Sulfate.

    Jim L
  4. cutntrim

    cutntrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    Summersweet sounds like a good choice. Thanks Jim. BTW, Gross Pointe Blank was one of my favorite movies of the past few years. I guess everyone there has probably seen it. Was it shot there?
  5. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    Actually I believe Grosse Pointe Blank, except for a helicopter shot down Lakeshore drive, was shot entirely in Hollywood. Oh well

    Good Luck,
    Jim L
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Well [unfortunately] Oregon is like the Rhododendron capital. We have more of these damn things in landscapes and in nature around here it's disgusting.

    So if you MUST plant these ugly things here's what I recommend;

    There is good advice in the comments above. They like plenty of drainage and do need a higher ph. These things are only necessary for the first several years. A well established large Rhodie will live through a nuclear bomb and the poorest of soil conditions.

    However, I don't necessarily see a problem with clay. We have clay in most landscapes in our area and they do fine. Only thing is you can't plant them directly in the clay. You need to dig a hole 2 times as wide as the root ball and ammend with sandy loam if possible. If not, use another compost or soil blend that has good drainage. They want to have excellent drainage.

    Work in some fertilizer that is specific to Rhodies, Azaleas and Camelias. That will raise the ph and they'll love you for it.

    Also, plant them on a small mound, a little above the general grade of the land. This helps with drainage.

    Finally, it's even more important with Rhodies that you plant correctly, using a basin around the root ball. See pictures on this page for details;


    This is one of the few web pages that teaches the correct way to dig a hole for planting.

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