Leaves Suddenly Turned Black /Brown

missmaryApril 7, 2012

In our unusually warm spring my hydrangeas started sprouting up from the ground about 2-3 weeks ago. I planted them last year.

Last time I walked around the garden (4-5 days ago) I saw that many / most of the newly sprouting leaves had curled up and turned black and brown. It already seems like newer growth is coming out still, but I can't tell if this affliction is yet to happen again.

Was this due to

1. A below 32 degree night we had after some warm days

2. Lack of water? I haven't watered yet this year. Rain levels are below average but I never water this early in the season

3. Some disease ? Insect?

I haven't grown hydrangeas in awhile, but many years ago, at another house I lived in I planted a China Blue and pretty much did nothing to it (except move it around a couple of times) and it absolutely flourished. This due to no help from me! When I drive by there now and then I still see it huge and beautiful.

I didn't know it could/would be so challenging this time. I am growing Endless Summers this time.


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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Good morning, Missmary. New growth can be affected by a frost so it is possibe that a frost caused the leaves to turn blackish. This warm winter has affected hydrangeas in many places similarly, by making them leaf out too early and then surprise them with freezing temperatures. The frost should not hurt the roots so the plant is in no danger. Keep the shrub well mulched (3-4 inches), the soil evenly most and, if you use winter protection, remove it 1-2 weeks after your average date of late frost in Spring (local nurseries can tell you this date if you do not know). Do not fertilize stressed out plants now; maybe in early June.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 6:10AM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

You got a freeze. ES gets whacked harder than non remontant hydrangeas. As far as the buds go, you will have to wait a month or so to see if they were completely killed off or if there is any new growth from them. As for the base growth it may continue or be aborted and restarted. At any rate, it looks like a freeze sets the growth back by about a month in total. This I would imagine contributes largely to there being a foot or two height difference between hydrangeas between around the mason-Dixon line.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Missmary, your ES definitely got hit with a frost. We had two nights at 32 degress and mine got the same look to it. My mom told me to just leave it alone because the roots were alright. Just means we will be waiting even longer on blooms :(

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:12AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

My hydrangeas are probably 25 or 30 yrs. old planted by original owner. We got hit a few weeks ago by a heavy freeze..The inside leaves held up but the outer leaves look like they were in a fire, burnt and dry/crinkle. I'm going to leave them and see what happens. Hoping with some rain which we need badly, new leaves will come out. One of my rose bushes was effected slightly but nothing like the hydrangea.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 8:28PM
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I have this problem too. I also noticed more dead branches (die back) than usual. One of my endless summers is looking raggedy, it's leafing out so I trimmed off the dead branches. Could this be because of the cold snap?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:23AM
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My leafs have holes and sone are brown so I coverd them so they csn have some shade is that ok and whats causing this just bought them a week ago

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 2:16PM
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Some of my limelite hydrangeas seem to be struggeling to leaf-out this spring. As I pruned back by maybe 1/4 to live wood, I did notice good green stalks and all plants are in full sun.

The plants I have are irrigated and have received a small amount of 10-10-10 slow release fertalizer at the beginning of spring.

What could be the problem?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:54PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

hippostorage, see the questions a few of us asked on your other post.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:23PM
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