AZALEAS AND RHODODENDRONS

AZALEAS AND RHODODENDRONS

By Paul Schnare

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">Select a planting site where they will be protected from the hot summer sun.  In addition, select a site where they will be protected from the cold winter wind.  Broadleaf evergreens, such as azaleas and rhododendrons, lose water through their leaves in the winter.  This water cannot be resupplied from roots in frozen ground.

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">These plants require well-drained soil.  Prepare a planting bed by mixing one part sphagnum peat moss with two parts of soil dug out of the hole you are going to plant in.  In addition, add one-half a cup of Hi-Yield Soil Sulfur to the soil dug out of each hole.  This will make the soil acidic.

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">Azalea roots need help growing into the new soil.  Remove the plant from its nursery container, and then shoot a hard jet of water at the root wad to expose the root fibers. When planting in the hold you have dug, place the root wad about half way into the ground and then mound the loose soil mixture up to the top of the root wad.

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">Next, thoroughly water the new plant with a solution of fertilome’s Root Stimulator fertilizer.  Finally, mulch around the new plant with a 3” layer of pine bark nuggets or pine needles.  DO NOT use hardwood bark mulch.  This mulch tends to break down and form a very compact layer around the plant.

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">Monitor soil moisture every two or three days during the first year.  When you water, water thoroughly.  Do not water again until the soil gets dry. 

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">After your azaleas are established, fertilize them monthly, May through August.  Use fertilome’s Azalea, Camellia, and Gardenia Food.  Do not hoe around these plants.  They are shallow rooted.

  1. class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">In the fall, spray these plants with Anti-Stress 2000 to protect them from the desiccation during the cold winter months.