Help! I can't stop killing shrubs

My perrenials, annuals, and edibles are all doing well, but the expensive shrubs keep dying. What could be the problem?
Over the past 3 years I've planted a bunch of shubs and all just fail to thrive. They sprout new growth on planting, then branches on the bottowm slowly turn brown and die. The plants continue to put out some new growth and last 1-2 years. Eventually the die-off overtakes the new growth and they fade away. This is getting expensive!!
A Mountain Laurel in the front yard lasted about 2 years. An Azelea planted there at the beginning of the summer is not looking good.
In the shady backyard, a drooping Leucothoe from last summer is slowly fading away. One Japanese Andromeda from the spring is pretty much gone and the other is looking brown on the bottom 1/2.
Any ideas what could be going wrong? The shrubs get planted with a couple of shovels of compost. I'm watering enough to keep everything else alive and they never look wilted. I used Miracle Grow once a month or so over the summer. Could there be something in the soil? Other plants seem to do fine in it. I've got 3 china boy/girls, a couple of spirea, arbor vitae, annuals, perrenials, vegetables, and of course nothing will kill the hosta.
Thanks for any suggestions.
Chris
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Those are all acid soil plants. Are you taking that into consideration?

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I agree with the poster about checking the acidity of your soil. Most of the shrubs you planted will slowly die in alkaline soils, no matter what you do for them, although the inevitable can be staved off for some time with a generous dusting of sulpher powder every year, plus a top dressing of moist peat, lightly dug in. If your soil is acid, then I'm not sure what else would kill off all these shrubs, unless your watering is inconsistent.

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What's your soil pH? How often do you water? How have you transported the shrubs home? (wind-whipped in the back of a truck or cargo trailer isn't good.) Are they getting the sort of light they should?
Kay
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Are you planting the rootball too deep? Most of the shrubs you mentioned actually benefit from being an inch or two above grade, especially if the soil is clay. And, if the soil is clay, what about a drainage problem? Did you tease the rootball apart before you planted the plants, or just plonk them in holes? Potted shrubs can strangle from their own circling roots unless you release them to grow out into the soil. How much are you watering? Light frequent waterings or deep and infrequent? WHat have you mulched them with? Fertilized them with? Did you have a soil test done to know your soil composition, nutrition level, and pH?
There are so many factors to consider and you really haven't provided very much information in the way of your planting and care practices.
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Thanks for all your replies.
I don't believe transport, watering, fertilizing, or light level are to blame. They aren't mulched because we don't like the look of bark mulch. That's probably an issue.
I've never heard of planting them above grade as one of the replies suggests. Can someone point to more info on this or general planting techniques?
I'll have the soil tested. New England has notoriously acidic soil so it never occurred to me to have it checked. pH seems like the most likely problem of all the issues raised.
Meanwhile, today I scratched in piles of peat moss and compost and built earth dams around them to help retain water. Wish them luck!
Thanks again. Chris
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