I think I am killing my rhododendrons. HELP!!!
I have a 5-6 foot rhododendron (as well as other plants) that I think I may have killed due to my own stupidity
I planted it spring 2012. I fertilized it mid-July for the first time and then went to Europe for a month. While I was gone it was a very wet summer interspersed with intense heat spells. When I came back I found at least half of it dead or almost dead, with branches devoid of leaves and others with leaves severely wilted and curled. There appears to still be some healthy growth with healthy looking green leaves and even some buds.
I brought a branch to my local nursery and the guy told me that he thought it was a case of phytophthora, but I think I over-fertilized it because I am an idiot. I think I burnt the root system. What do you think?
I also have a couple of climbing hydrangeas that I bought last year that dropped all their leaves, and I wonder if that is normal for this time of year, or if I may have killed those as well.
Is there anything I can do to try to salvage my rhododendron? Should I cut all branches where there are dead or dying leaves to their base or just above any visible healthy foliage? (the lower portion of the plant and the part facing in one direction suffered the most). Or is it hopeless? Is there anything I can do?
Please help save my plant. If you do I promise I will NEVER do this again.