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Wrong soil

Mixing your own rhododendron soil:

All the ingredients should be well moistened to begin with and then mixed thoroughly.

You will need:

  • 2 bales of ordinary garden peat:
  • 1 wheelbarrow load of two-year-old compost, consisting of chopped pine or fir branches, bark or dead leaves;
  • half a wheelbarrow load of coarse sand;

    Bought soil:

    Special fertilized peat for rhododendrons mixed with ordinary peat in a ratio of 1:1. Mix well and moisten.

    Exchanging the soil:

    Dig out a pit for planting the rhododendrons. For smaller rhododendrons and dwarf rhododendrons, the pit should be 30-40 cm (12-16in) deep, for taller varieties 40-60cm (16-24 in) deep, and the diameter of the pit should be three times the size of the rootstock. Fill the pit with the prepared or bought rhododendron soil.

    If the soil is very chalky, line the walls of the pit (but never the bottom) with polythene, so that water containing chalk cannot soak into the sides of the pit. Line the floor of the pit with a 10cm (4 in) layer of fir tree branches, chopped wood or pieces of bark. This will prevent water from rising up from below.

    A raised bed

    If there is a tendency to waterlogging and dense subsoil, an exchange of soil will be necessary. I recommend raising an entire flowerbed for several shrubs instead of digging individual planting pits. A raised bed can be built even on a hard surface like asphalt or concrete.

    The best idea is to build a bed that will accommodate several rhododendrons right from the start. As long as the soil has not become completely hard, roughly dig over the planting area beforehand. Then set the boundaries of your planting area with wooden planks, pieces of tree trunk, old railway sleepers, Iime-free chunks of rock, stones or a wooden palisade. The frame of the bed should be at least 50-60cm (20-24 in) high. Fill the bed with suitable rhododendron soil

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