Can a holly tree ruin the soil?
The holly tree has been gone for about 10 years but was there for about 30 years. It stopped thriving when a nearby maple tree grew higher and cut out most of the sunlight for a large part of the day.
A robust 3' x 3' rhododendron planted in summer and showing new growth and blooms the following spring, died by the end of the summer. A replacement rhododendron (same species and size) is now showing the same trend. It too showed new growth this spring and had nice blooms, but it is also now beginning to wither and die.
The spot gets sunlight for about four hours each day. In the early part of the day the house blocks the sunlight and in the bottom hours of the day a maple tree puts the spot in shade. The nursery told me they would do fine under those conditions.
EDIT: We're in southeastern Pennsylvania not far from the Delaware state line.
The rhododendrons were watered during the summer every three days. The bush is about 10 feet from the maple tree which has a trunk about 18" diameter. The maple's roots spread out quite far and a large one passes within a foot of the root-ball of the rhododendron.