Fading Rhododendron

October 15, 2009

We have a very large, old rhododendron that seems to be trying to die on me. For the last year or so some of the limbs have been getting thinner leaf cover and the leaves they hold onto are quite pale. I have tried rhodendron fertiliser and iron sulfate to lift the acidity but spring time has certainly seen no perking up of our tree. It managed to put on some flowers but a fairly sad attempt. I have been told variously that it may just be old (we think it is about 70 years old but not sure if that is old for a rhododendron?) or that it has some sort of fungus in the roots. It does actually have the odd strange looking fungusy growth on the trunk, except that these growths are very hard, almost like little rocks). In any event, all the advice I have is that it is terminal which is a great shame for a tree that would once have been very handsome. I have lopped off some of the more-dead branches in the hope the tree may better focus its energy on a smaller number of limbs – if anyone has any better ideas than that please let me know.

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