Salt water damage to azaleas

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My yard was flooded by a stormsurge during the last hurricane. My azaleas were under 3-4 feet of saltwater for most of one day. Now the leaves are turning brown. What care could I give them to salvage them, if any?
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Wow!!!! I'd think about replacement with Rosa Rugosa (SP). Replace with new azaleas next . But first I'd try to clean up their root system with new soil. This is a major garden issue. 3 feet of ocean water Whew!!
Look about and check with your neighbors on what survived .
Bill
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That's why you never find any Rhododendrons growing wild along the beaches.
Since they require acid soil in order to grow well, you must have known you were taking a serious gamble growing them at all from the very beginning.
Try growing flowering shrubs tolerant of alkaline soil and salt instead.
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These azealeas are decades old. They were here when I bought the house 5 years ago. The storm surge was very unusual for this area. They bloom profusely every year. It is sad to see them die.
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On Sun, 24 Jul 2005 20:06:06 GMT, "Cereus-validus......."
Take a trip to the Oregon coast sometime. Rhododentrons (R. macrophylum) grows to about 40 feet tall along the caost, in the sand with a lot of salt spray, and a lot of rain.
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I said Rhododendrons not Rhododentrons!!!!
Rhody breeders should try to incorporate such a species salt tolerance into the hybrids.
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/rhomac /
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Rhododendron+macrophyllum&btnG=Google+Search
http://images.google.com/images?q=Rhododendron%20macrophyllum&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&safe=off&sa=N&tab=wi
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Since the variety of azalea was never mentioned, there may be some hope.
Plants which are lime tolerant tend to be more salt tolerance. Southern Indica Azaleas such as Formosa, G.G. Gebring, and George Tabor are considered moderately salt tolerant. This means the plants tolerant of moderate levels of salt spray, such as that received in landscapes adjacent to the beach front, but which are sheltered by other plants, structures or natural dunes.
However most azaleas and rhododendrons are not tolerant of salt.
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On Sun, 07 Aug 2005 14:42:10 GMT, "Cereus-validus......."
wonder why spell check didn't catch that.

I grew up thinking they were roto-dendrons.
they still represent, to me, what a Rhododendron should look like
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Rhododendrons/azaleas have low salt tolerance & it would've surprised me if they did well in reach of salt-air breezes even without being deluged in saltwater. You can try to "flush" the salt through the soil with deep watering, & mulch with a quality finished organic compost, then wait to see what survives. In the long run you may have to expect azaleas to be killed by even moderate salt exposure, & you'll have to over time replace dying shrubs with things that are salt tolerant, including for the South the yaupon holly, wax myrtle, flowering apricot, figs, cherry laurel, palms, Indian hawthorn, rosemary, jasmine, oleander, honeysuckles, many others.
The azaleas that come closest to being salt tolerant are Satsuki, Gumpo, & Indica cultivars. But in general where salt exposure is likely, azaleas houldn't be planted.
-paghat the ratgirl
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Thanks. I have flushed and mulched. Now I must just wait and see.
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Probably a funeral. Azaleas and most "acid loving plants" are sodium sensitive and salt usually kills them. I would think that totally removing all soil and replacing with good clean soil in an elevated bed might be the only hope of saving them, but not really much hope.
If they are already dead, I would not use the salt water contaminated soil for azaleas. I would either use a raised bed with new soil or containers with new soil.
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It's possible to leach the salts from the water by flooding it with fresh water often. If you can afford the water it's worth a try. We are talking laying down the equivalent of a foot of rain a few times with a few days drainage in between, But it's also likely that having waited this long that your plants are goners. Ericacious plants are not salt tolerant at all. Azaleas are in that group. Similar plants will lead you into the same kind of heartbreak.
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Well, that just ain't so. Much of west Scotland is acid peaty soil, lashed by salty rain and salt-laden wind. Some of the commonest naturalised plants are ericaceous. Heather and rhododendron ponticum both thrive right down to the (salt)water edge here. Pieris, and deciduous and evergreen azaleas do very well, and it's common for very wind (and salt) swept gardens to have huge old deciduous azaleas as a windbreak on the sea side. West Scotland's salt-laden coast is famous for its rhododendron gardens .
Janet. (Scotland)
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azaleas were under 3-4 feet of saltwater for most of one day.
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I spent most of the month of May visiting Scotland's famous rhododendron and azalea gardens and none grew rhododendrons nor azaleas near the open sea or near the beaches. The rhododendron and azalea gardens I visited were:
Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh (not near the sea)
Glendoick Gardens, Perth (not near the sea)
Branklyn Garden (NT), Perth (not near the sea)
Inverewe Gardens (NT) (on Loch Ewe, a saltwater estuary, but the rhododendrons and azaleas are either grown in walled gardens or on high ground. In their official brochure they describe the "curse of the salt spray")
Arduaine Gardens (NT), Inveraray (on a high slope overlooking the Sound of Jura.)
Benmore Gardens (RBG), Benmore (a woodland setting not near the sea)
Crarae Gardens (NT), Inveraray (on the Crarae Burn (a fresh water creek) not near the sea)
Brodick Castle & Gardens, Isle of Arran (on an island on the Firth of Clyde, but it is situated high not near the sea)
Not many Scots consider ponticum a garden plant. The Scots have done considerable research on the resistance of plants to the salt spray and to limestone. They have found plants which can tolerate these notorious enemies of rhododendrons and azaleas. However, there are many plants we can grow in the USA that they don't grow because of their conditions. You don't see many of our common plants over there. Surprisingly they do raise many of our "iron clads" which are fairly tolerant of many things.
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Garbage. If you were ever here, you never looked at a map.
The rhododendron and azalea gardens I visited

I suggest you look at the atlas. Edinburgh is a SEAPORT.

Lochewe is a seabay, a fjiord. Open to the Atlantic Ocean. Look at that atlas again. Few if any of the rhodos there are in the sun-facing walled garden which was built for herbaceous and vegetable gardening.

Arduaine is at sea level on the west coast, NOT at Inveraray.

Where do you GET this garbage?????? Benmore is in a woodland setting at Dunoon on the Holy Loch; where the US Navy used to keep its submarines.

Crarae (I work there too) is right on Loch Fyne, another sea inlet/fjiord. The freshwater burn through the garden runs into the sea.

This is hilarious. I live on Arran in Brodick, I work in Brodick Castle Gardens.The castle is 100 ft above SEAlevel, and less than 100 m from the water. The rhododendrons and azaleas are between the castle and the sea. As I type I am looking across the SEA bay to Brodick Castle and its gardens which run right down to the SEAwater. Many of the most important rhodos in the garden grow (and self-seed) in the section called "Plant hunter's walk", which is right down at sea level maybe 10 m from the water.

Haven't said they do. Rp is a naturalised and highly invasive weed throughout west Scotland, right down to the sea edge. (The gardens you list grow far more than ponticum of course.). Yellow azalea is also a naturalised weed in many west coastal areas, which is why I mentioned it.

The rhododendron gardens of the west coast of Scotland are all on acid soils, not limestone. Rhododendrons, because of their resistance to salt, are often used as wind-shelter belts in the coastal gardens you mention.
Janet
Isle of Arran, west coast of Scotland.
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It seems a bit tawdry for a decent soul like yourself to be telling Stephen you doubt he's been to Scotland when he certainly has been or wouldn't've said he had -- he's well enough known in the rhody community that if he started telling whoppers like you're presuming, a whole lot of people would know. He is a good reporter on rhododendrons; I'd turn to him in an instant for any rhody puzzle or problem I was having; his knowledge is worthy of respect.
The effect of salt on 95% of rhody & azalea varieties is not rare information from some loon pretending to have been to Scotland as you seem to be imagining. Whereas, if what you have posited were true, then all unlikely things are likewise true & the moon really is made of cheese. What Stephen asserts is that none of these gardens grow rhodies or azaleas near the open sea or on beaches. That's not the same as claiming the sea can't be seen from anywhere from any high hilltop, which seems to be your gambit for denying the reality that the genus rhododendron is simply & factually extremely salt sensitive.
I'll assume you're mistaking hilltops in view of the sea for saltmarshes or beeches, as I refuse to believe you'd lie outright. Stephen's quote from the Inverewe Garden brochure about their troubles with the "curse of the salt spray" still stands as Inverewe's own testimony on that topic. In fact the methods by which Inverewe gardens protect rhodies from salt air are famous & imitated by large scale landscapers. Stephen never said Inverewe was not near saltwater; he said correctly that the garden admits to having problems due to this location, & his statements are not rendered incorrect by you misrepresenting what he said.
Unless you're speaking of R. pontus exclusively, these shrubs cannot be used as windbreaks against salt winds as you posit, indeed the opposite of what you describe was done by Osgood Mackenzie at Inverewe. He built walled terraces to protect against sea winds, & planted Pinus scandinavius specifically as windbreaks to protect the Inverewe rhododendron collection from salt winds.
And you can't possibly believe Benmore Botanical Gardens' woodland rhodies are growing in a salt environment. Their rhody collection occurs mainly in two parts of the park by their own descriptions as far from saltwater as they could be placed -- one is imbedded in the center of the park maximumly protected from salt breezes. The other is on a hillside protected from wind by both the hill & a forest. So rather than telling Stephen to get out his atlas, perhaps you should get out your Benmore Gardens map & look where the rhody gardens really have been placed.
Likewise the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh doesn't grow rhodies by the sea, & you noting Edinburg itself is a seaport doesn't mean that from the highest hill to the most distant corner it is one big saltmarsh beloved by rhodies, & Stephen's statements still stand while yours seem odd. I could as easily point out that in my port town -- with naval ships big enough to not scare Bagdad -- is in the heart of one of the world's great rhododendron capitals therefore rhodies love salt. But the reality is our famed rhodies aren't grown on sound-front properties without major sheltering mechanisms, or they die immediately.
If you study those gardens at Benmore & Inverewe & the RBG more closely I'm sure you'll make out how the rhodies are protected -- at Benmore in particuolar the landscaping is designed to protect them from salt winds. It's not always successful alas. It may be too subtle for you to have realized at first glance how it's arranged, but once it's pointed out it'll be obvious.
I'm not quite sure why you're so insistant rhodies will grow in salt. Go dump a bag of salt around the roots of your rhodies & see how long they last! About the only rhodies that ever establish in nearly saltmarsh or beach conditions are R. pontus & R. macrophyllum & even they have their limitations. Among azaleas the Satsuki, Gumpo, & Indica varieties are moderately salt tolerant, not strongly so, but if you honest-to-crap see an azalea thriving in sea wind, assess the variety before deciding all or most such shrubs would therefore do fine in a radically inappropriate location.
My county, on a penninsula with scores of saltwater inlets & an enormous saltwater canal along the full length of one side of the county & the sound along the entire other side, would probably look like familiar country to you, very much like around Argyle or similar places you'd know well. A lighthouse near us is surrounded by an abandoned rugosa plantation dating to when the hips were still basic grocery store produce -- impenetrable jungle of rugosas flat at beech level where every year they are well-salted by autumn & winter storms. Not one rhody survives there -- not even the famously salt-tolerant wild coast rhody because there is no high ground for them to get above the salt.
We are surrounded by saltwater, yet the county is famous for its azaleas. The rich folks who live right on the beaches, howevre, have to grow rugosa roses & suchlike, forgoing our famous rhodies. Nearby Seabeck Park right on the salt Canal is famous for its wild rhodies -- it'd probably look like Scotland to you & you'd probably be thinking all those rhodies are growing in the salt air. But once you leave the hilltop & get down to sea level, the rhodies disappear. They vastly prefer woodland edges with a forest between them & the beaches so they are packed one beside the other on the roadsides but not at the edges of the beech -- despite that they'd have a better chance of making it than just about any other species or cultivar.
-paggers
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from snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) contains these words:

In which he is completely wrong
or on beaches.
I have not claimed they grow "on beaches". I said ericaceous plants grow right down to the edge of the seawater here (often, in rock crevices where peat has washed down).
That's not the same as claiming the sea

Now you have misread his post and mine. None of these gardens is "on a high hilltop", and I have not claimed they are. The opposite is the case. Inverewe, Arduaine, Edinburgh, Benmore and Brodick are all at sea level.Stephen repeatedly claimed they are "not beside the sea" and actually lied about the location of Arduaine which he claims is at Inverary.

Wrong. These are not hilltop gardens.
as I refuse to believe you'd lie outright.
I'm not lying at all; check out those gardens on the internet or an atlas.
In

Why don't you read the thread again.
indeed the opposite of

Paghat, give it a break. It's clear you have never visited these gardens or you would not be supporting Stephen's foolish and inaccurate comments.

We're not talking "salt breezes". Scotland is a narrow patch of land beside 3000 miles of ocean; winds are ferocious here especially in the west. 70 mph is commonplace and 100 mph not exceptional. The shelterbelt Osgood Mackenzie built, was primarily against that wind. Inverewe is on a rocky promontory with sea on three sides (not a saltwater estuary, as Stephen claims).Gardens within yards of the sea (such as Inverewe, Brodick Castle, which Stephen claims is not near the sea, Arduaine, which he says is inland at Inveraray 40 miles drive away, and Crarae (Steven; "not near the sea") , cannot avoid heavy salting.

See above. There's not a window in Edinburgh that doesn't get covered in salt in winter storms. The Botanic Gardens is about 500 yards from the sea.
& Stephen's statements still stand while yours seem odd. I could

I haven't claimed rhodies "love salt". Or grow on beaches.

It's mainly designed, to protect them from high wind, which would wreak havoc with the large-leaved kinds. There's no escaping salt anywhere around the Scottish seabord, it lashes down in the very heavy winter rainfall blasting in from the Atlantic.
Save your patronage, Jessica. This is a small country, I've visited all those gardens countless times, I work in two of them for the body that owns and runs four of them. In leaping to the indefensible you have only exhibited your own ignorance of Scottish gardens, climate and topography. Well, that's understandable from someone in America who has never seen the gardens she speaks of. Less so from an American who claims to have visited them.
Btw, "beech" is a tree; the sandy place next to sea is spelled "beach". The rhododendron you refer to as "pontus", is "ponticum".
Janet.
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from snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) contains these words:

Stephen has already demonstrated that he doesn't actually know the location of the gardens he says he visited. He went to great lengths to pretend they are not beside the sea. Anyone interested can look up those gardens, and their detailed location maps, and see for themselves.They can also re-read the thread and count the number of times you falsely imputed claims to me, which I did not make, and descended to your usual sexual vulgarities to discredit my simple statement of facts. Such tactics only discredit yourself
Janet
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Janet Baraclough wrote:

Gosh. Who to believe? The rhody expert and the gardener who does her research, or the woman who insists they wrong about everything because she believes that anything within a half-hour drive of the sea is by the sea?
Yes, anyone who has followed this thread does know who has discredited themselves.
Give it a rest.
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