Hydrangea murder mystery

napalm_beachAugust 4, 2014

Hi folks,

We planted a row of hydrangeas 3 weeks ago. They all get about same sun (the ones on the left just a tad bit more), they get the same water (again, a little more for the ones on the left because they get a bit more sun), there are cedar trees at both ends.

Within 10 days they looked like the photo attached: as you can see it looks like someone took a torch to the ones on the left and the effect tapers off at plant #3.

They were all planted the same way in Cedar Grove Compost mixed with Dr. Earth's Organic Fertilizer.

Is there something in the soil that might be causing this?

Thanks for any insight/guesses you can provide.

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

More than likely, the water is missing the original root ball. Stick a finger into to it to check.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:55AM
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Yes, the root ball is moist (just checked it this morning). When it started browning out we began soaking the base of the plant.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:47AM
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With the extreme sun and heat we've had in the NW this month, I would think it's probably just the wrong time to be planting anything, especially a shrub that doesn't do so well in heat and sun. I'd pull the survivors up, put them back in the pots and into the deep shade somewhere, keeping them well watered until the weather cools and the rains return. Then replant them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:06AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

You were a little late watering the plants. "When they started to brown out", is the clue. By then, the damage was done.
If you keep them watered they should be OK. Just don't let them dry out again.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:06AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Consider rigging temporary shade because I'm told this heat will continue.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 3:29PM
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If needed, replacement plants put in next spring will quickly catch up to the others.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:51PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

It's hot!
Temporary shade is a good idea, jean.
I've been out on the Olympic Peninsula for the last three days and came today back to wilting established hydrangeas that I don't normally water. I'll take a look at them in the morning and see how they are doing. They're a long ways from a hose bib.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:07PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Doin' fine.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:06PM
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Beach umbrellas work well. I bought several at a Big Lots on the cheap (5 bucks each!) to help along some hostas that had been in the shade but now get a lot of sun due to a limbed up tree. Worked out pretty well and they look cute :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:12PM
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