QBARS - v10n1 Sawdust Mulch for Rhododendrons

Sawdust Mulch for Rhododendrons
Cecil Smith, Aurora, Oregon

After reading G. G. Nearing's article in the Quarterly Bulletin "Rhododendrons Are Vanishing" I could not help but write a few words in regards to my experience with sawdust as a mulch. I have used sawdust on my rhododendrons since 1951, and have only the highest praise for its use. There had been several discussions on sawdust uses at Society meetings prior to 1951 and all who had used it were of the opinion that it was undesirable. Before this date extensive experiments were being carried on with sawdust as a mulch and amendment at the Experiment Station at Oregon State College. Dr. A. N. Roberts who headed these experiments addressed the Society in 1951 and presented many interesting facts concerning the use of sawdust.* Since that date I have used fir sawdust fresh from the mill as a mulch, on hundreds of plants, both species, hybrids and azaleas. This use of sawdust for five years has shown no untoward results, and I have had less watering in the summer, no weeds to pull under the plants, and the establishing of a wonderful root system on the rhododendron.

* "Sawdust as a Mulch and Soil Amendment for Rhododendrons and Azaleas", A. N. Roberts, A. R. S. Bulletin, 1951 Vol. 5, No. 2. Page 58.