Growing Azaleas Under A Redwood

Question:

 We have been unsuccessful in growing Azaleas under a Redwood tree. The leaves on the plant wilt, turn brown, and then die. Do Redwood trees affect the soil, or could it be recycled laundry, water? 

Answer:

  • Recycled laundry water shouldn't be a problem if you use a biodegradable soap; but, not Tide or a similar product. Biodegradable laundry soaps are found at most supermarkets or available online at Amazon. 
  • Question two,  redwood trees do not produce any type of natural toxins affecting Azaleas or other plants. They're shallow-rooted with a massive root system on or near the soil surface.
  • Redwoods have a shallow root system, so copious surface roots are normal.
    • This makes digging holes for new plants difficult but not impossible. I'd plant away from the tree trunk to avoid the larger roots. The planting holes should be twice as wide or wider than the Azaleas container and six inches deeper.
    • Personally, I'd replace the native soil with an Azalea or Acid Planting Mix or mix it 50/50 with the native soil.
    • Another solution is planting your Azaleas in raised containers with no bottom. The container(s} could be at ground level, or you could sink them partway into the ground. This keeps the majority of the roots away from the competing redwood roots. The roots will grow into the native soils, but the bulk will be in above-ground containers.
  •  Azaleas do get root bound so it’s advisable to remove them from their container every third year, trimming off the excess roots, adding fresh soil and repotting them back into the same container.  November thought March is the desired window for this.  

Question:

Recently, I planted Pink Jasmine in large containers on the west side of my house. The plant label says that they require an average amount of water, so they get watered every third day. I'm now noticing that some leaves are turning brown and crispy. Am I overwatering them? 

Answer:

  • This is not a case of too much water but too little. The crispy brown ends indicate water stress. Also, the watering instructions are misleading, see the note below) as they refer to in-ground plantings and ignore those plants in containers. Container plants, like jasmine, require more frequent watering.
  • For the first year, every other day is sufficient except when the temperatures are over 90 degrees, which it should be daily. This jasmine is growing in a hot location as it receives all of the heat of the day Sun. Watering frequently is required for it thrive. If this area is windy, then you have another factor that dries plants out. The watering instructions would be different in another location.

NOTE: Plant labels are written and are not written for a specific area; instead, they are specific and vague to cover a wide area because it make the printing cost-effective. Double check the watering requirement with the nursery professional for what’s best in your area.