Don't even know how to describe the problem, but could use help

mmo081012July 14, 2014

We have two of these, one is doing great..the other has looked like this since early spring. We moved into this house in the fall, and they were both full and had bloomed. Now this year it seems this one started to sprout but somehow became stunted? The sprouts are super thick and concentrated. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. I have searched online and have not found anything like this.

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mmo081012

This is a pic of the matching one

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:36PM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Got a closeup of a leaf or two? Those don't even look like hydrangea leaves. But I believe you if you say both looked the same last year. Very weird.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:54PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Any chance of weedkiller before or after you moved in?

And yes, we definitely need a close-up of one of those branches.

This post was edited by jean001a on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 0:26

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:25AM
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mmo081012

Ok, here is a close up pic

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:09AM
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mmo081012

And here is a close of pic of the matching one. Last year, they both looked like this. And I have not used any weed killer, I can't say for sure If previous owners did.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:11AM
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hcmcdole(z7)

I agree that they are not the same. The one with the sick or twisted leaves is not a hydrangea. Enlarging the photo to %150 suggests some kind of dogwood (red twig?) going by the spots on the bark. Can you post a photo close up of the leaf and of the bark? If it is a red twig, then the best thing to do is cut it down this fall and allow it to push up many new shoots, then go from there.

Here is my red twig early April last year (not the best looking shrub)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:02AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Sure looks like the witch's broom type growth you see after herbicides like Roundup.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:04AM
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mmo081012

They are the same exact tree. I know that for sure. Last year it looked exactly like the other in full bloom

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:14AM
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mmo081012

Hmmm. Witches broom could be it, I also wonder if a late frost could be the culprit. Or not enough sunlight? I tend to think maybe the frost and maybe because that tree doesn't get as much sun as the other. I just don't know if this is something that happens due to frost. Both trees were sprouting leaves at same time, and it seems this one's leaves never opened. If you lookvery closely, in lower middle of the close up pic, you can see that a couple of the leaves did open.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:22AM
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gardengal48

Frost would have no effect like that - that is classic chemical damage. Since they are planted adjacent to the garage, is there any chance some automotive chemicals washed into that area? Deicing material in the winter? Antifreeze?

The good news is the plant is not dead....which is the expected result of such a problem. It will eventually outgrown the stunted, deformed foliage and frequent watering will help. But no guarantees that you will see any improvement this season.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:25PM
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luis_pr

Wow, has someone been having a field day with Round Up near that hydrangea?

;o)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:44PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You did a fine job of describing it! I knew exactly what you were talking about. :-)

In my experience, witches' brooms (that's exactly what this is) are triggered by eriophyid mites or aphids, but can also be caused by a number of biotic factors.....insects, fungi, viruses, and others.

Sometimes, WBs can be cut out, but this looks systemic.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:20PM
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mmo081012

Is there any form of treatment for WB? We had A LOT of snow this winter/spring in Michigan, and this was a area where a lot of the snow was piled up.I wonder if any of that made it susceptible to this. It is such a beautiful tree, hopefully it is not doomed.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:18PM
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mmo081012

I can only find information online that decribes WB as a cluster of twigs and branches. Would this still be if it's only the leaves?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:23PM
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mmo081012

I just looked at the pic again and seen that in the left side of the pic it looks like dense branches, but that is mulch in a garden behind the tree.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:27PM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

It looks to me like Roundup/glysophate damage: consistent over the whole plant, lighter than usual color, very small and slightly twisted leaves. Is there any possibility that there was drift from someone using it on a neighboring property?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:39PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I agree--looks like Round Up damage to me also.

Kate

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:51PM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

If you moved into the house in the Fall, the property had probably received some type of herbicidal treatment by landscapers before closing or lease agreement. Namesake aside, you'd be surprised at the number of landscapers who aren't green thumbs - especially the lower employees who work during summers. And overall they're much better at hacking and destroying plants than caring for them. Either way, I'm sure the damage was unintentional and was very likely runoff and settlement from the lawn over the course of the winter.

If the tree doesn't recover by next year, I'd recommend replacing both the soil and the tree in that 4x4 square. Also, mound that part of the bed to a height of at least 4" from the lawn in the middle so that water runoff does not travel into it from the lawn or the driveway.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:03PM
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