Rhododendrons: Entire rhodie turned brown- ? winter damage

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by burnaby jo, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. burnaby jo

    burnaby jo Member

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    This winter, my entire rhododendrom has slowly lost all of its green, and has turned into a dull brownish/grey shade. The leaves are all starting to curl up.

    This rhodo has been established for about the last 6 years, and was doing fine this summer, with lots of new growth- until now.

    It received the least amount of snow - the rest of my rhodies still have snowcovered bases, but it was sheltered and has received much less.

    Is this it for this rhodo? Is this winter damage from the cold that this species wouldn't take? (It was an orange coloured flowered specimen).

    thanks for any help
     

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  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Your plant needs moisture, as the picture appears to identify an overhang? from the eves? The winter winds have dried out the soil medium, and the foliage appears burned from these effects...
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    I'd say it was damaged by the weather. Rhododendrons vary in hardiness, some fairly tender ones are sold even at garden centers - you can't assume one will be hardy locally just because it is offered at a local garden center. Many outlets display them with hardiness expectations indicated, so you can often get an idea right at the start as long as you know what minimum temperatures are likely on your site. There can be considerable differences between properties in fairly close proximity.

    Whatever the exact cause it looks severely damaged and should probably be removed and replaced with something else. Unless the roots are dead re-growth from lower down on the stems may be possible, but it will take years to recover the appearance it had before the cold spell.
     
  4. burnaby jo

    burnaby jo Member

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    Hi, thanks for your responses.

    I don't think lack of moisture has been an issue- it gets well wet throughout the season. There is no overhang above- just a fence beside.

    I suspect it is temperature as well.
     
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    I would wait till your spring /summer and see what it does. After bushfires here they have resprouted out of the base. Yours may well do the same after it's snow bath.

    Liz
     
  6. jbutts

    jbutts Member

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    A number of years ago our strata "landscaper" fixed our sorry Rhodos by cutting them off almost at ground level. (I had a word with him over that!) A few years later they were actually growing and blooming on all sides, and looking at least respectable, and worth persevering on. Not something I'd recommend, but those rhodos were HARDY!

    J
     
  7. burnaby jo

    burnaby jo Member

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    A good thought. Let's see just how hardy those plants are.

    Cheers,
    J
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Some kinds more vigorous than others, and not all are able to sprout well from old wood. Another thing to be aware of is that where mildew is present trunk sprouts may be hit worse, fail to persist and develop unless kept sprayed.
     
  9. burnaby jo

    burnaby jo Member

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    thanks Ron. Will check keep an eye out for that as well.
     
  10. burnaby jo

    burnaby jo Member

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    Well, I thought I'd let people know that the rhodo lost all of its leaves completely, and although I thought I was going to give up on it, decided to leave it in the ground.

    It has since completely releafed from every part of all the stems, and it looks like it wants to live!

    I will try to protect the roots this winter, if it is going to be as cold again.
     
  11. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    A fir/hemlock or pine bark mulch may help , kept away from the trunk.
     
  12. jbutts

    jbutts Member

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    This is encouraging news. One of my rhodos--Virginia Richards-- had some interesting damage this winter--it is two feet in front of the dryer vent, and altho' that hasn't bothered it in the past, this winter it seemed to be burning the leaves, and some of the Johnny Bender as well. I lost well over half the leaves, and it didn't bloom as well as usual (what a surprise). But it has leafed up some since, so I'll give it another year before deciding if I need to move it. Thanks for the update Burnaby Jo.

    Burnaby Janet
     
  13. burnaby jo

    burnaby jo Member

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    Thanks Chimera- I will try that. Janet, good luck with yours. Hopefully this winter won't be as bad as last year, but I suspect that we are going into this kind of weather for a long time...

    Cheers
     

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