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rhododendron wilting/dying?

Posted by mtsom MD (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 1, 10 at 22:35

I noticed two of my rhododendrons are wilting and appear to be dying! They are about 12 years old and very large. We had a lot of snow this winter and so far a lot of rain this spring. The drainage is not great, but they have done well in their spots for so long. I don't see any bugs and have started to be concerned about root rot or weevils. Should I cut them back and hope for the best or move them? At least half of each plant appears ok and there are numerous flower buds on them. I would hate to lose them after so many years.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: rhododendron wilting/dying?

Having this problem with one of my brushes. It started last year. The plant puts out a plethora of blossoms but as soon as they open they wilt. The leaves are green and healthy. I have four around my oak tree in the afternoon western sun. All the others are fine. Any thoughts?

RE: rhododendron wilting/dying?

Bluesgarden, if you notice some tiny spots on the petals that get larger and larger prior to wilting, you may have a fungal infection called Petal Blight. Blossoms should be disposed in the trash and you may consider replacing the mulch & cleaning any plant debris after the blooming season is over. Then maintain clean practices as often as possible. Water the soil (not the leaves/shrub) early in the morning. Avoid keeping the soil wet.

Below is a link with more information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Petal Blight Information from the ARS

RE: rhododendron wilting/dying?

I'm having a similar problem. My lovely yellow rhody was here when I moved in over 16 years ago. It has finally branched out this year and was cascading over the rockery. Suddenly, the left side died so I cut off the branches. Now the middle part is doing the same. I tried to attach several photos but I think only one came through.

RE: rhododendron wilting/dying?

With no information about the particular variety of rhododendron or where you live, any answer is pretty much guesswork. All yellow rhododedrons are, however, particularly sensitive to root rot problems because of the genetic makeup of their species ancestry. If you have been experiencing particularly hot weather and the drainage is not excellent (shouldn' be a problem in a rockery, but you never know), this could well be what's happening. It's also very puzzling why it took 16 years (!) to begin putting out branches.

RE: rhododendron wilting/dying?

Do you suffer from pests that might be digging and eating roots? Voles for example? Check for borer insects too.

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