Rhodo leaves turning brown

teeball25July 25, 2007

The leaves of my rhodo that was planted in the spring of this year have been turning reddish-brown over the last 2 months. It seems to start on the outside and work it's way towards the middle. It doesn't get overwatered and it set in a bed with landscaping rocks. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

If it is only on older leaves on the sunny or windward sides of the plant it is wind and cold damage. This is indicated when the edges of the leaves become distorted and turn brown. This occurs frequently in plants that may be in a colder climate than recommended or in a location with severe exposure. Provide protection from winter winds and winter sun.

Note, if it is on all older leaves on all sides of the plant it could be boron poisoning or fertilizer burn. This will create the same symptoms except uniformly over the plant rather than just on areas exposed to the sun and wind.

Boron poisoning is unusual and usually only occurs in nurseries that get the wrong type of perlite. However fertilizer burn is fairly common as is wind and cold damage.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow rhododendrons and azaleas.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:32PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Planted in spring, they've had far too little time to develop a sturdy root system.

Check the moisture content within the original rootball. I suspect they'r going dry. If so, apply water directly to the rootball.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 1:37AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

If they are dry they will wilt, especially the new leaves. If they wilt in the heat of the day, that is normal. If they are wilted early in the morning, then that is a sign they are too dry. Too much water in summer can cause root rot, so don't water until they need it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:39AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The overall leaf damage (especially in the third closeup) looks like dryness/sun damage to me too. Do you by chance have landscape fabric under that rock? I'm not a fan of it anywhere, but least of all over surface rooted rhododendrons and azaleas.

"Sunburn in winter, brown patches near leaf center as the leaves tend to curl downwards and expose the center leaf surface to the strongest sun - In summer, brown patches on leaf edges."

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:35PM
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