Ailing Chinoides Rhodo

We planted two of these 2 1/2 weeks ago. One now has curling leaves, some misshapen and was full of tiny spiders and inchworms.
The lady from the "Master Gardener" program told me they need more water.
The nursery that grows them and sold them to me told me they were over watered.
These rhodos are foundation plantings planted in a mixture of humus/manure, peat, and topsoil. The ground drains well around them. We've had a very wet year in MA in general, so the ground has been damp, but it hasn't rained much the past couple weeks.
I gave the wilting plant a spraying with insecticidal soap
Do I water or not water?????
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some
humus/manure,
wet
Unfortunately, not a simple answer without seeing the plants and knowing the conditions. Both overwatering and underwatering can produce the same distressed appearance. Check to see how deeply they were planted - the top of the root ball should be slightly higher than the surrounding soil. Even in damp weather, newly planted shrubs and trees will need a good soaking to settle them in, then only water again - deeply - when the top 3-4 inches of soil becomes dry to the touch. Continue this practice throughout the growing season.
The insects are an indication the plants are stressed. Relieve the stress and the insects will take care of themselves.
If I had to bet money on the problem, I'd guess first the rhodies are planted too deeply - a very common planting mistake.
pam - gardengal
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Pam,
They look like they're planted okay as far as the top of the rootball goes. There was a bit of settling towards the back of the plant, and I brushed the soil back just to be sure.
It sounds like I did overwater. I'll let them dry out and see if that helps.
Thanks!
-- Jenny - Low Carbing for 4 years. At goal for weight. Type 2 diabetes, hba1c 5.4. Cut the carbs to respond to my email address!
Low carb facts and figures, my weight-loss photos, tips, recipes, strategies for dealing with diabetes and more at http://www.geocities.com/jenny_the_bean /
Looking for help controlling your blood sugar? Visit http://www.alt-support-diabetes.org/Newly%20Diagnosed.htm

water.
the
to
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growing
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same with mine. did a nose dive two winters ago and has never seemed to recover. dont think it is reliably hardy in zone 5. Ingrid

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Check the soil around the roots and see if it is wet or dry. You only water when it starts to get dry. You need to water often until the roots get established. Was it containerized or B&B? If B&B it should not have too much stress if the root ball was not disturbed. If it is containerized, it may have been potted in bark dust and the roots will not come out of the bark dust sometimes. They are much more difficult to get started. Most rhodies grown in the west coast (USA) are shipped in bark dust.
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Stephen,
The rhododendron was grown by the nursery I bought it from. They have many acres of plants out back growing in rich Connecticut river bank soil. The plant was only about 18 inches high and appears to have been recently dug from a field and put into a plastic 3 gallon container. If I recall correctly, when we took it out of the pot, it did not have a whole lot of roots wrapped around it the way a lot of plants you buy do so I figured it had been recently dug. .
All the other stuff I bought from them including a twin of this plant is doing fine. They do have a one year guarantee so if it dies I get a new one. .
-- Jenny - Low Carbing for 4 years. At goal for weight. Type 2 diabetes, hba1c 5.4. Cut the carbs to respond to my email address!
Low carb facts and figures, my weight-loss photos, tips, recipes, strategies for dealing with diabetes and more at http://www.geocities.com/jenny_the_bean /
Looking for help controlling your blood sugar? Visit http://www.alt-support-diabetes.org/Newly%20Diagnosed.htm

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