dead rhododendrons

Loretta NJ Z6October 8, 2005

How are the rhodies doing around your neighborhoods? One of my neighbors asked me about his, which are dying back horribly, all brown and looking like a very bad case of winterburn. But I am noticing a lot of peoples rhododendrons are looking like this. They look dead. I am thinking that Sudden Oak Death is hitting them. I have other plants following suit in my yard including hydrangea macrophylla, salix, cornus silver and gold, bee balm, rosa virginia, seven sons tree, lilac to name a couple, some worse than others. I pulled out a pieris that started dying back last year, and a coral bark willow. Both seemed dead.

If I get my new camera, I will try to post a pic but in the meantime, here is a link to a pic on the RHS site.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)

my next door neighbor lost a beautful one that she planted last year... but it's under the canopy of my large maple and that's what may have sucked the life out of it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 3:50PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

I've noticed that I had to water my clethra frequently for the last few weeks. It's under a pussy willow and I believe the willow sucked up whatever moisture was in the soil before the clethra could get to it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 5:00PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I don't think it's drought in this case though I suspected at first. The branches that I have been cutting off are not crispy. They have moisture. The leaves are pliable.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 10:59AM
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I was away a good part of August & my waterer concentrated mostly on my containers rather than my shrubs & I lost a few rhodie branches here & there, except 1 was really badly hit & I bet I lost half the branches on it. I think mine was drought-related.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 4:45PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I have noticed this here in Northern Virginia too, I think it could be a combination of factors, cool to cold spring, very fast warm up, drought and underwatering and not enough fertilizing/improper pH in the soil. These factors can weaken the plant to the point it can not resist a disease it might otherwise resist if not stressed.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 3:51AM
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katsmah(Z 6B NJ)

I planted 2 a couple of years ago. The one near my house looked like that and we just ditched it, the other one on the side yard is doing fine.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 6:05PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Drought (and not suddent oak syndrome) played a major part in the demise of many plants in the landscape this summer. When there is no rain for 8 weeks as I endured, you're going to take some hits.

My well established rhodies (3-5 years) still required major watering every 3rd day (and this was in the shade of oaks and in good leaf litter). Other than that, all survived and are enjoying the recent deluges.The PJM hybrids are all turning purple/reds, with the natives also having beautiful fall colors (ranging from yellow/reds to oranges). The evergreen rhodies were the really thirsty ones this year, and the causes of much angst with this writer.

Native azaleas, natives such as aronia, itea, my native mag. tripettela required virtually no water. Clethra (which I have over a dozen roseums, hummingbirds, alnifola, etc) did require a lot more watering than I would've ever suspected. Rh. viscosum (a native) really took a beating as it was hid in the back of one of my beds. Even trusty viburnums could only take so much of the arid & heat.

The good thing is that if they made it through this horrific 8 weeks of summer, they'll be ok for next year. As for spring flowering? Who knows.

The larger and more grave issue (in my mind), is that these weather extremes will continue to reak havoc on us gardeners, and more importantly, PLANTS and TREES.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 11:42AM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I know in my case, it was disease of some sort and may have nothing to do with whatever is bothering my neighbor's plants. I had problems last year when the ground was moist. I am not sure about all my neighbors who lost their rhodies but I know the neighbor that approached me originally waters.
I wondered originally because some people I know who are involved at the extension center mentioned it was a problem. However, the oaks around here do look pretty good.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 3:56PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

It could be your soil or you purchased diseased plants.

If you have oaks, you should be mulching and dressing your garden beds with it. Your rhodies will love you for it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 9:14AM
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