The Q&A Archives: Unhealthy Hydrangea

Question: My hydrangea began growing new leaves when I noticed one branch's leaves began shriveling and died quite rapidly. It has spread to other branches leaving half the bush (so far) green with normal leaves, the other half leafless. I saw (see) no insects or sign of distress on the leaves or the branches now or before. I can't even tell if the leafless branches are now dead as they tend to look that way before they leaf out. I hope you can help, thank you in advance, M

Answer: Maggi,

That could be due to several different things. Root problems are a likely cause. Soggy soil conditions that exclude oxygen from part of the root zone is a possibility. Root injury from digging or underground pests is another. Root burn from excessive fertilizer application over part of the root zone is yet another. Try to keep the soil evenly moist avoiding extremes. Make fertilizer applications in small doses on a more frequent basis rather than a lot at once.

Then there is the possibility of a foliage blight, usually caused by bacteria and brought on by frequent wetting of the foliage. Sprays are available to fight bacteria, but usually just avoiding excessive wetting of the foliage is sufficient.

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