I have a very old friend who lives here in town. Her name is Deb and she has gifted me with many grown, mature specimen plants which no longer fit into her landscape. I talked of the yuccas she gave me in the yucca post, but in addition to yuccas she has given me: roses, 'Helleri' hollies, and barberries.
The most recent acquisitions from Deb were azaleas. Deb decided these four pink azaleas no longer fit her idea of good foundation plants at her lovely home in Sango. She offered them to me and all I had to do was dig them out!
Mr. Fix-it was kind enough to help me dig these four foot tall azaleas last January. I am so glad he did help me as these azaleas had extensive root systems and were in place for many years.
I brought the four home and planted them in a nice raised bed out front of my home. Truthfully, I did not have much hope for their survival even BEFORE "The" late freeze and "The" drought. But survive they did. It wasn't until early this winter I began noticing a problem with the four azaleas. Two were yellow and looking kind of sad. These two were located on the side of the raised bed where I had had some wood chips left in place to decay. The two on the other side of the bed did not have as many wood chips mixed in with the soil they were growing in, and seemed to be doing well. The wood chips were from oaks. They are under a 2-3 inch layer of soil. The azaleas are planted in this mix.
I closely watched the sad azaleas and added all sorts of organic amendments. I added blood meal because I theorized the wood chips were removing all of the nitrogen from the soil, and I added fertilizer and Bayer Advanced Shrub and Tree Care. I tilled the soil and mulched the azaleas well. I ensured these azaleas were always watered and generally babied them. To this day they still look the same.
The two happy azaleas appeared to be OK. But then I noticed only one had buds. It is the one that bloomed WONDERFULLY in the first picture. I was so overjoyed with this azaleas! I only wish the other three would've also bloomed like this one. I love these azaleas because they are already full grown and large, and they are tried and proven in this locale. I am not a big fan of azaleas available for purchase in big box stores, as they are all hybrids and generally are going to stay small. I want big azaleas in my garden. Ones that will make a big impact in front of my house.
So I ask you what can be the problem and what can I do to save these azaleas? A bit of background information. The wood chips have been under the soil for nearly two years. The soil was trucked in and has been soil tested. The pH is around 6, phosphorous was normal, but the potassium count was off the chart. All other plants in this bed (hydrangeas, irises, hostas, campanulas, oak leafs and various perennials) are doing well. What is the problem? And since the azaleas have been here for 16 months, is there hope? Or are they going to die a slow and agonizing death? What are your suggestions and has anyone else run into this before?
in the garden....