The Q&A Archives: Yellowing leaves on rhododendron

Question: Many leaves on my nova zembla rhododendron are turning yellow. I don't see any insect damage. I'm at a loss for what I should do. I would like to treat it before the winter.

Answer: If the yellowing leaves are the oldest leaves, those near the center of the plant, there's nothing to worry about - broadleaf evergreens eventually lose their oldest leaves and fall is a prime time for them to yellow and drop. If the yellowing leaves are the newest growth, your plant may need to be fed (wait until spring), or it may indicate some stress with the roots (over or under watering). It takes several months for root problems to begin showing up in the foliage so if the problem was caused by overwatering, there may be some root rot already in progress. You might want to dig your plant and inspect the root system; healthy roots are creamy white inside and dead or dying roots are brown or rusty colored. Hope this information helps you determine just what might be causing the yellowing leaves.

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