Rhododendron Flower Buds Turn Brown Previous Autumn

ajaynejrSeptember 15, 2013

I have some white flowering rhododendrons that are now about 4 feet tall (and more than 10 years old). The last several years they have not bloomed.

This year and last I noticed that the flower buds seem to have formed normally during the summer but little by little they are turning brown even before winter..

More exactly flaps usually starting with the outermost layer (down at the base) turn brown one at a time and then the next layer turns brown and before too long the entire bud is brown. Come spring the (brown) buds don't open and bloom.

Do I need to spray for pests or diseases?

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Summer drought or an early frost can cause this, but neither seems likely several years in a row. The other possibility is so-called bud blast, a fungal infection. If it is the latter, buds left attached to the plant will eventually turn fuzzy black as the spores of the fungus form on the bud surfaces. This condition is - maybe - spread by leaf hoppers, so once there's an infection it tends to spread. You need to pick off all the brown buds and any buds that have fallen on the ground before the fungus becomes infectious next summer. There are fungicides recommended for this which need to be sprayed on the newly forming buds next summer. Some recommend spraying for leaf hoppers as well. Your county extension or state agriculture department can give specific advice for your area.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 4:57AM
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Thanks. I will try a fungicide.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:34PM
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