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onlylobster
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Easy Shrub/ Tree ID? Sick or healthy?

This 4 foot tall shrub was here when I moved in. I've never been able to figure out what it is and I'm not sure what it is supposed to look like. It's had very little new growth appearing and has always looked like it is suffering. Can anyone help me figure out what it is and if it needs some soil amendments or is it just a goner. It is placed in a partly shady location facing West/ Southwest.
Mystery_sm_close.jpg
Mystery_sm_close.jpg
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NJ Zone 7 or 6b

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Easy Shrub/ Tree ID? Sick or healthy?

I'm not for sure, and ID is harder because it is in such bad shape.

Is it evergreen? Are the new leaves reddish when they first come out?

If yes to the above, then I am thinking pieris japonica, sometimes called lily of the valley bush.

Image

IF it is pieris, it prefers part shade locations without hot afternoon sun, it likes to stay fairly moist but well-drained, and it must have acidic soil, pH down around 5.

I hope someone else will come along and confirm (or not) this ID....
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applestar
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Re: Easy Shrub/ Tree ID? Sick or healthy?

Me! me! I second pieris/Andromeda. :D

It doesn't grow very fast even in ideal conditions. It's like azalea and wouldn't like hot afternoon sun. And should be in east-facing location.
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onlylobster
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Re: Easy Shrub/ Tree ID? Sick or healthy?

I think you are both right! Thank you! I never would've figured that one out though my guess was something related to a rhododendron. It does get new red leaves. The soil is acid enough to grow blue hydrangeas in a nearby sunny spot but I haven't tested the soil right from the area with the sickly pieris. I guess I will have to dig out the test and also use a fertilizer for azalea/ rhododendrons. I"m a novice so let me know if my plan is wrong. At this point I'd just like to see it improve condition even if it is a slow grower.

I do have a question about facing directions. This photo was taken standing right in front of the shrub so I was looking Southwest. Does this mean the plant is also facing southwest or is it facing the Northeast? I am dyslexic so issues of front back and facing in regards to things without fronts backs or faces are very confusing to me!
NJ Zone 7 or 6b

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Easy Shrub/ Tree ID? Sick or healthy?

If you are looking at the plant and facing SW, then the plant is looking back at you and it is facing NE. That makes most difference if there is a house or fence or something behind the plant, so that most of the light is coming from one direction. In your case, it looks like there is a big, solid fence right behind it, so it does matter which way it faces. NE would be a better direction for it to face.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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