Rhododendron advice

Hello there,
I was given a rhododendron as a gift and have planted it in my garden but after reading up on them I tested my soil which is quite acidic.
Please can anyone offer advice as to feeds, plant care, etc to make sure that my rhododendron remains healthy?
Many thanks,
John.
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John, Rhodies like morning sun and afternoon shade. they also like a well drained soil. If your soil is heavy in clay, you will have to ammend the soil. Rhodies also like to be protected from the prevailing winter winds in your area. If you want to feed them, I recommend a product called "Holly Tone" by Espoma... it is formulated especially for rhodies , azalias and other evergreens.
this link will be of great help and so will both the public library and/or your local certified nurseryman
http://www.rhodo.com/Care.cfm
anthony B.
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Some do and some don't. Some need more sun in order to set flower buds and to prevent a tall gangly habit. Others like more shade to prevent sunburn, rhododendron lace bugs, and fading of the flowers. Each species and each variety is a little different and like different things. Many will tolerate summer sun but don't like winter sun in areas where the ground freezes.

And if the soil is heavy and not well drained you will have to raise the rhododendrons in a raised bed. Otherwise the amended soil will be in a pool of heavy soil and still not drain.

Also, many like to be protected from winter sun. This is especially true in colder climates where the rhododendrons harden off during the winter.

This is a very good product, but most rhododendrons don't need feeding. If your rhododendrons don't look too healthy, then you might experiment with fertilizing but apply at half the rate recommended on the package and then only apply when needed which is very seldom.
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Rhodys like an acid soil.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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Sorry, I should have wrote 'quite alkaline' soil instead of 'quite acidic'.
John.
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This is a problem but it will show up in the color of the leaves, not the lack of flowers. Yellowing of a leaf between dark green veins is called chlorosis. Chlorosis can be caused by malnutrition caused by alkalinity of the soil, potassium deficiency, calcium deficiency, iron deficiency or magnesium deficiency. A combination of acidification with sulfur and iron supplements such as chelated iron or iron sulfate will usually treat this problem. Chlorosis can also be caused by nitrogen toxicity (usually caused by nitrate fertilizers).
The most important factor in achieving vigorous growth is an acid soil mixture high in organic content. Rhododendrons and azaleas need an acid soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0, well mulched with organic material. Rhododendrons thrive in a moist, well-drained, humus-filled soil, enriched with peat moss or leaf mold. Prepare the soil by thoroughly mixing equal parts of loam, coarse sand and ground oak leaves or redwood before planting. Many commercial growers root rhododendrons and azaleas in pure sphagnum peat, or in a 50-50 mixture of sphagnum peat and coarse sand or perlite. A favorite mixture on the West Coast is 1/2 sphagnum peat and 1/2 ground bark dust, but in such mixtures, plants must be fed regularly. My favorite soil mix is a 50-50 mix of peat humus and the natural soil. Soil around the rhododendron's shallow roots must be kept cool and moist but well drained.
If the soil is too alkaline, acidity may be increased by adding flowers of sulfur (powdered sulfur) or iron sulfate. I add 1 tablespoon of sulfur powder around the base of any plant showing signs of chlorosis. Do not use aluminum sulfate. Aluminum can build up in the soil to toxic levels eventually. One very common source of chlorosis is when lime leaches out of concrete, such as from a foundation or walkway, making the nearby soil more alkaline. This problem decreases each year as the concrete ages. An annual application of sulfur can compensate for this problem.
Sphagnum peat or peat moss is a super soil amendment. Researchers claim that plants planted in mixes containing sphagnum peat will resist disease better. The sphagnum peat in the soil does regulate the availability of water so the roots are not too wet, but also the sphagnum is said to provide protection against disease.
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I didn't know that! My Brittany often uses a fairly young (30" high) rhodie as a urinal. Is that going to provide a dangerous amount of nitrogen?
Thanks. vince norris
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The salt in the urine will most likely get it 1st.
Tom J who has brown lawn patches from the neighbors dogs
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Thanks for the response. I am puzzled, however, by the many posts here about dogs spoiling lawns. This Brittany is my fourth dog, in the same yard, and I have NEVER in 40 years had a problem with brown spots from dog urine. All my dogs have been neutered. I don't know if that's the reason, but I can't think of any other reason, either.
vince norris

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vincent p. norris wrote:

Sometimes I spill semen into my rhody after I get done tending to my goats at my home in Mount Pocono PA. The acid in the semen helps to fertilize my goats and rhodeodendrons !!
--Joseph Bartlo--
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It is usually female dogs. Males even when neutered lift their leg and so the urine is not concentrated in one spot like it is when a female dog squats.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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