Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up? - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-21-2019, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

I have about 50 or so Rhododendrons of various ages and sizes around my yard. It's not unusual to lose a couple over the winter, but this year, after a relatively mild winter about 90% of them have shriveled, drooping leaves. I don't think it is because of dehydration because we are in the middle of a nice, slow snow melt and the bushes are surrounded by melting snow. Is anyone else seeing this and more importantly, does anyone have any ideas what to do about it? The only unusual thing I did this year was to give each Rhody a handful of Hollytone in the fall.


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post #2 of 9 Old 03-21-2019, 06:29 PM
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

It happens to mine every winter...another shot of Holly tone...maybe a shot of Miracid might help them out
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 08:59 AM
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

Rhododendrons need shelter from the wind in the sold. Lack of snow has probably been a detriment as it does offer some protection from drying out. The Hollytone should help them recover and you might want to consider top dressing with mulch as it keeps the soil moist, which they like. Careful not to over fertilize as the plant is under stress right now and trying to recover. When we had them we sheltered in the Fall with burlap screens.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

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Originally Posted by Newsman View Post
Rhododendrons need shelter from the wind in the sold. Lack of snow has probably been a detriment as it does offer some protection from drying out. The Hollytone should help them recover and you might want to consider top dressing with mulch as it keeps the soil moist, which they like. Careful not to over fertilize as the plant is under stress right now and trying to recover. When we had them we sheltered in the Fall with burlap screens.
MikeC
Mike, you might be on to something. Just two weeks ago we had the worst windstorm I can recall in the 35+ years we have been here. Trees down, lost power, etc. It was about a week after that I noticed the poor condition of the shrubs. If that is really what the problem is it was really dramatic.


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integral hitch attachments: box blade, 10" bottom plow
3ph attachments: Woods 4' box blade
08 Craftsman Pro w/42" deck, Berco blade and blower, OTC cab, model 80 cart given to son
84 JD 214 w/46" deck, 43 blade and blower, model 50 cart given to SIL
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 04:01 PM
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

Back when I had rhododendrons, I used to spray an anti-desiccant on them every winter. I know there is some debate on their usefulness, but they seemed to help with the drying out and leaf drop.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 04:03 PM
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

Steve, if they were alright prior to the recent storm, then I think they should recover. If you had noticed the shriveling in Jan then it would be more likely to have heavy damage. Many varieties of Rhodie's are really evergreens vs deciduous, meaning they don't drop there leaves annually. It's not uncommon to see the leaves hang down and curl rather than remaining out straight. Some say its so they can shed snow load and another school of thought is that they do it to conserve water. For several reason's neither of those ideas "hold water." One because the branches would hold snow and ice so shedding load isn't really helpful. And trying to conserve water doesn't take into account that the plants are dormant and that the waxy consistency helps conserve water. A more likely explanation is that being evergreens, photosynthesis is still taking place. Being basically a shade / filtered light plant, when the leaves of the overhead trees fall it exposes the Rhodie's to a much higher intensity of light, producing much more energy than the dormant plant can utilize. So the thought goes that the curling of the leaves is a defensive mechanism to reduce the area exposed to the sun and as a result, the damage to the leaves from the intense light . So what's all this mean. Darn if I know cause I lost all mine years ago. Course our soil is so alkaline that I constantly have to dump sulpher, aluminum sulfate or Miracid around my blueberry bushes. I did use Miracid on the Rhodies, but also had some trees cut down along the driveway which exposed they to much more sun year round. All you need is to be part chemist, horticulturalist, arborist and botanist. Then everything will bloom like a champ. So after all this, all I can say is hope for the best cause its in Mother Nature's hands.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 04:30 PM
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

Never had issues of leaves dropping.
Mine just curl their leaves up tight when it gets really cold to save moisture from evaporating and, of course, the deer that trim up the lower half when there's nothing else to eat due to snow cover.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-23-2019, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

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Originally Posted by lt230s View Post
the deer that trim up the lower half when there's nothing else to eat due to snow cover.
I've been lucky in that regard. The deer go for the burning bush and leave my rhodies alone.


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80 Cart
78 JD 316K 49 blower
81 JD 317 Onan 54" 4-way blade weight box 46" deck
86 JD 318 JB Sr. 3pt weight box
05 JD x585 54" deck Femco Cab Cat1 3ph Johnny Bucket Sr. w/custom frame squeezer
07 JD x748 48" deck mulch kit 14 cuft powerflow bagger 47 snow thrower Click-n-Go Cat1 3ph OTC cab
Woods box blade
12 cu. ft. poly cart, JD rear dethatcher, plug aerator, drop spreader, broadcast spreader, sweeper
integral hitch attachments: box blade, 10" bottom plow
3ph attachments: Woods 4' box blade
08 Craftsman Pro w/42" deck, Berco blade and blower, OTC cab, model 80 cart given to son
84 JD 214 w/46" deck, 43 blade and blower, model 50 cart given to SIL
<a href=https://www.mytractorforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1742785&d=1469767994 target=_blank>https://www.mytractorforum.com/attac...5&d=1469767994</a>
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-23-2019, 01:03 PM
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Re: Are anyone else's Rhododendrons leaves shriveling up?

The lone one I had next to the house on the east facing (shadier) side suffered major damage in last years March Nor'easters--it had grown to about 6 feet tall and 3-4" thick at the base,but heavy wet snow drooped it over bad enough to crack the trunk in half..

It still lives,but I'm debating whether to just rip it out--its in the way of the oil tank filler and I doubt it'll have many blooms on it from now on..the smell of its flowers makes my sinuses go crazy too,I may be allergic to them..


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