QBARS - v17n1 Lime and Rhododendrons

Lime and Rhododendrons
Paul Griebnow, Salem, Oregon

I was particularly interested in the article by Alleyne Cook on Liming Rhododendrons in the April Quarterly because I, too, have had similar experiences. Particularly, a good friend and customer came to me some two or three years ago to see if I could do anything for the rhododendrons he had bought from me, and others. I looked them over, and they were a sorry sight, stunted, pale and sickly. but I could see nothing radically wrong with his culture. After some thought, it occurred to me that the predominant feature of the planting was the thick oak grove. I had other customers with similar plantings that were not doing very well. So I suggested he have the soil tested and if it proved quite acid, that he mulch with mushroom manure, containing some lime. I am not sure that he had the soil tested, but he went further than I suggested. He bought some agricultural lime and dressed the plants with it. Within two months the plants showed definite improvements in color and vigor. After reading your article, I went to see them again, and while they are not in the best of condition due to other factors, color is quite good and the growth has been average. In the meantime, I had suggested to another friend and customer with a similar experience that he try the mushroom manure mulch. I told him of your article, and he told me his plants are doing better with the use of the mulch. I feel this strongly corroborates Mr. Cook's experience.