Oh Noooooooooo.......! (rhododendron)

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by jpasquini, May 1, 2022.

  1. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    Springfield, Illinois
    Rhododenrons about 5 years old, I have one on each side of the porch. Purple flowers.
    This was the better one of the two.
    Last week I resprayed/painted my bathroom lights with RustOleum 'hammered' spray paint, as they had gotten rusty from the shower. It was raining that day (as it is every other day this spring), so I did it off the porch.
    Flecks of the silver paint got on the leaves of the plant, unnoticed.
    What I did notice, is the plant started dying shortly afterwards.
    I don't see any other evidence of what could be causing it, rains have been frequent and no freezing weather, the bush on the other side is doing fine.

    I spent the whole night yesterday looking up silvery spots on the leaves, only to come to the realization this morning in the daylight, that these aren't spots. They're specks of silver paint from spray painting off the porch.
    Could it have absorbed the chemicals, is this killing the plant? Sure looks like it. Is it too late.
    What to do??

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Ordinarily partial branch dieback on a rhododendron is due to root rot - I have to wonder if this was already underway on your plant and the shriveling just happened to coincide with the spraying.
    Georgia Strait likes this.
  3. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Paints usually don't contain strong poisons, so absorbing some chemicals from the paint drops should not cause this kind of effect. I usually paint inventar in my garden in the spring and I often see plants with paint drops on their leaves living happily until the fall.

    I suppose, that the problem might lie in caustic effect of the thinner (the rain and wet leaves probably diluted it and alleviated its effect, but the wax that covers rhododendron leaves is quite easily dissolvable, so they may now be without the protective coating against excessive water loss).
    Glogging of stomata is probably neglible - those are mostly underside of the leaf, so they remained mostly unaffected.

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