Leaves curling and wilting, why?

lawnkid(Central NJ)July 19, 2007

I have a Capistrano rhody I planted last fall 2006. This spring it flowered beautifully.

Plant on 5/18/07:


After the flowers wilted I deadheaded, and shortly after I observed two to three shots coming out of the flower base on many of the branches. It looked like it really was thriving and sending new growth out quickly.

About a month after I observed the leaves are curling and some are wilting and falling. The new growth seems to be getting it more.

New growth 0 7/19/07:



What could be the problem? This plant looks so healthy a month before.

Any suggestions on what to do to prevent further damage will be appreciated.


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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The problem is either not enough water or too much water. It is normal for rhododendron new growth to wilt in the heat of the day. It should have recovered by the next morning. If not either the plant isn't getting water to the roots or the roots are dying from too much water.

The most important thing to check when planting is drainage. You should dig the hole twice as deep as the root ball is high and fill it with water. It should drain in less than an hour. If not you must make it drain. The normal way is to use a raised bed of good acidic soil.

The next most important thing to check before planting is the root ball. It the plant is root bound you must open it up so that the roots don't go circularly around the outside. If the root ball is root bound, you can either open it up or make cuts down the outside in at least 4 places to cut the roots that are going around.

Next, you must make sure the root ball doesn't dry out. Once they dry out they will shed water when placed in the ground. It is best to soak it for about half an hour before planting if it is dry. Rhododendron guru Harold Greer noted: "Quite often a plant will get completely dry and then no matter how much water you apply, the rootball will just keep shedding it. The top of the soil may seem wet, and the soil around the plant may even be very wet, but the actual rootball of the plant is bone dry. This is especially true for newly planted rhododendrons, and it is the major reason for failure, or at least less than great success with that new plant. It is hard to believe that a plant can be within mere inches of a sprinkler that has been running for hours and still be dry, yet it can be SO TRUE!"

If you have root rot, it is normally fatal. There isn't much you can do.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 2:59PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

I can't see your picutres. Links don't work.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 3:06PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

They aren't that kind of links. They are just URLs and must be copied and pasted. Then they worked just fine for me.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:25PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Yes, I know. For me it was -- and still is -- copy and paste and end up on Photobucket home page. Still can't see the pictures. :

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:06AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I can't see them either, Photobucket Homepage

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 4:12AM
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lawnkid(Central NJ)

Thanks for the interest!
If you guys can suggest an easier way to display these photos I will be happy to do it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 6:24AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I can view them in Safari, Foxfire, Internet Explorer and Netscape with no problems. Photobucket is a popular service. I am not sure what the problem is. Here are the photos. See if they work. If you have photobucket accounts, you my need to log out of your account. The photos are around 700kB.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 8:25AM
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