Dead Hydrangeas

jana73November 1, 2009

4 years ago I had my backyard landscaped. The landscaper planted 10 Oak Leaf Hydrangea plants in the nature area. This area is both part/full sun. Up until this year they have been beautiful. We have had tons of rain the last few months and when the weather began to change I noticed that 7 of the plants leaves started to wither. The leaves are withered and the plant stems are completely brown now so I assume that they have died. The remaining 3 plants still have their leaves and are turning fall colors. I am very sad as I look out my back door. I am unsure what has killed the plants, and if it is possible that they will come back?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Sorry to hear about the problem, jana73. Excessive moisture (the rains) may have done them in. Oakleafs require excellent drainage and I lost one about 2 years ago when the weather turned constantly rainy for several months. Clay soil, for example, does not drain well and may not work for oakleafs when one gets long periods of rain. The other hydrangea varieties are not as temperamental so feel free to replace them with other hydrangeas if you wish to.

To determine if the plants have or have not died, prune the stems down until you either hit some green or until you get down to the crown. If no stems remain alive, take no action other than to continue watering during dry winter spells. Wait until next May to know for sure. They should leaf out by then if they are still alive.

Next time I try an oakleaf, I am going to mix some rocks that absorb water or some of those plasticky looking crystals that do the same thing. And I will probably choose a location that has an incline (as opposed to a flat location); it may be a better place for them too.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 11:11AM
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Yes, I do have clay soil. When the rains began several months ago I also lost 11 Lantana plants due to the excessive rain, which I learned was the cause from a Lantana forum much like this one. I will prune the stems to determine whether or not they are dead and wait until May and pray they have survived. Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 8:42AM
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