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I now garden on heavy clay, topped with 18" -24"of topsoil. The clay is acid - everyone else around grows beautiful Camellias and rhododendrons - but the topsoil is quite different, the Camellias I have here are usually on the yellow side. I've tried Sequestrene, which doesn't help much. What would happen if I used almost-2-year old conifer chippings around the Camellias and Rhododendrons to attempt to acidify the soil? They seem quite well established. We've been here for 18 months and they have been here much longer than that.

The top soil is clearly alkaline. Camellias are more tolerant than Rhododendrons of lime. Neither like to have their roots buried too deep so...... I would use the conifer clippings (are they acidic?) but not too much and continue with sequestrene twice a year in early spring and again in August. Clearly the roots are in clay. Are sulphur chips still available? They lower alkalinity.
Just another thought. You could apply ericaceous compost as a mulch or ACID bark chips

Thank you for that.


The topsoil/clay is a weird situation is a weird one. I didn't realise that our garden was different to everyone else's round here for a long time. Some of the plants I brought with me are struggling somewhat - I have a heavy investment in Sequestrene now. Perhaps I should buy shares!


They may also be short of magnesium as this also causes chlorosis or yellowing of the leaves.   You can address this by pouring over a solution of Epsom salts and water making sure it lands on leaves before dripping down to the soil - 1 tbs to a gallon of water or 15ml to 5 litres.  Don't do it on a sunny day.

Epsom salts are also good for roses and, apparently, tomatoes where they improve flavour.   i shall be trying that on mine next year.


Thank you, Obelixx. I was in Tesco today so I asked for Epsom Salts in the pharmacy. At first they couldn't find any, they were looking for a big box. Eventually they found it, it was in a small plastic bottle - it contains 250gms and cost £2.85!!! However, I'll have ago with it, everything I've read since you mentoined it seems to say that it is a miracle cure for almost everything that ails anything.


The pharmacist, by the way, said rather gloomily that they must have cut down the size because they found it could be used in something nefarious. Did you know that you can't get Citric Acid now because it is used to cut drugs? Goodbye Elderflower Cordial.

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