Hydrangeas forum→Brown Spots on Tips of Leaves of Newly Planted Endless Summer Hydrangeas

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Pennsylvania
dsisinni
May 6, 2020 11:32 AM CST
Hello:

I am new to this forum. Approx. 2 weeks ago, I planted several young Endless Summer Hydrangeas in my yard. I made sure to water the root and put generous amount of compost soil in the hole I dug. After planting, covered the flower bed with mulch.

The hydrangeas seem to be growing ok with new leaves popping up. However, I noticed that some of the new buds and some of the established leaves are starting to get brown tips on the leaves. Is this normal and associated with planting them, or is something wrong with them? Is there anything I should be doing to remedy this (e.g., cutting off leaves that are starting to brown)?

I've added a few photos showing relative size of hydrangeas as well as close ups of the brown leaves.

Thumb of 2020-05-06/dsisinni/8f7c86
Thumb of 2020-05-06/dsisinni/c7efe9
Thumb of 2020-05-06/dsisinni/c29a54
Thumb of 2020-05-06/dsisinni/7dce78

Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 6, 2020 1:36 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, dsisinni. Your location is not being displayed. Can you tell us where are you located?

Also, in picture 1, behind the fence, is that water (a little creek)? Or do I need to stop drinking caffeinated coffee again? ;o)
Pennsylvania
dsisinni
May 6, 2020 2:32 PM CST
luis_pr said:Welcome to NGA, dsisinni. Your location is not being displayed. Can you tell us where are you located?

Also, in picture 1, behind the fence, is that water (a little creek)? Or do I need to stop drinking caffeinated coffee again? ;o)


Thanks for your prompt reply to my question luis_pr, I am in Pittsburgh, PA. There is a creek behind - but the creek is down (vertically 15-20 feet) and 15 feet away from the hydrangeas.



Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 6, 2020 3:55 PM CST
When this problem happens in the summer months, I would say that there is a soil moisture issue. But in your area, the highest temperature so far this year is 78F in April.

I would observe the brown leaf areas and try to determine if they are "growing" or not. If not, it is possible that they were caused by winter damage in the form of very, very cold temperatures or in the form of late frosts like you are about to have. If the brown areas are "growing", it could be caused by not enough water or by insect pests. If hydrangeas do not get enough water, they zap the flower buds and open blooms first, then the leaves begin to brown out from the edges inwards.

There are some insect pests that can be out there this time of the year. They cause the new foliage to be curled, etc. Others can nibble at the ends of the leaves. But again, it sounds like your temperatures are too cold still. Be prepared to protect the leaves and the invisible flower buds located at the ends of the stems. Those will produce early Spring blooms. The new growth that is coming from the crown/base, if it gets tall enough and old enough, will later on produce a second flush of blooms.

The affected areas are small. At this time, if it is not changing in size, I would not worry.

One suggestion... since you have a source of humidity and since humidity promotes powdery mildew and cercospora leaf spots in hydrangea mopheads, water the soil and never the leaves. If you use a sprinkler, make it water the hydrangeas around 6-8am so the sun will promptly evaporate any water drops in the leaves.

Another suggestion: start with 1 gallon of water per plant when you see leaf out in Spring. When temps are regularly above 85F most days then ratchet up the amount of water. Say to 1.5 gallons per plant. Should temps reach and stay above 95F, increase the amount of water to 2 gallons. When temps cool down in the Fall, reverse the process. Reduce the amt of water from 2 gallons to 1.5 gallons when temps are typically below 95F. Then reduce the amt of water to 1 gallon when temps are below 85F. Then reduce waterings to once a week or once every two weeks (depending on local rains) when the plants go dormant and all the leaves have browned out. Stop watering when the soil freezes. Resume Spring watering levels when you see leaf out. As the plants get larger, you will need to water more. The amount of water suggested (1 gallon in Spring) should get soil moist down to 8" but, if you insert a finger and it does not feel moist down to 8" of depth, use more than 1 gallon. To tell when to water: insert a finger into the soil to depth of 4" and only water when the soil feels dry or almost dry. Water the soil but never the leaves.

FYI: your average date of last frost is around the end of the first week or first two weeks in May so, this upcoming freezing temps may be the last one this year.
[Last edited by luis_pr - May 6, 2020 4:55 PM (+)]
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Pennsylvania
dsisinni
May 6, 2020 7:56 PM CST
luis_pr said:When this problem happens in the summer months, I would say that there is a soil moisture issue. But in your area, the highest temperature so far this year is 78F in April.

I would observe the brown leaf areas and try to determine if they are "growing" or not. If not, it is possible that they were caused by winter damage in the form of very, very cold temperatures or in the form of late frosts like you are about to have. If the brown areas are "growing", it could be caused by not enough water or by insect pests. If hydrangeas do not get enough water, they zap the flower buds and open blooms first, then the leaves begin to brown out from the edges inwards.

There are some insect pests that can be out there this time of the year. They cause the new foliage to be curled, etc. Others can nibble at the ends of the leaves. But again, it sounds like your temperatures are too cold still. Be prepared to protect the leaves and the invisible flower buds located at the ends of the stems. Those will produce early Spring blooms. The new growth that is coming from the crown/base, if it gets tall enough and old enough, will later on produce a second flush of blooms.

The affected areas are small. At this time, if it is not changing in size, I would not worry.

One suggestion... since you have a source of humidity and since humidity promotes powdery mildew and cercospora leaf spots in hydrangea mopheads, water the soil and never the leaves. If you use a sprinkler, make it water the hydrangeas around 6-8am so the sun will promptly evaporate any water drops in the leaves.

Another suggestion: start with 1 gallon of water per plant when you see leaf out in Spring. When temps are regularly above 85F most days then ratchet up the amount of water. Say to 1.5 gallons per plant. Should temps reach and stay above 95F, increase the amount of water to 2 gallons. When temps cool down in the Fall, reverse the process. Reduce the amt of water from 2 gallons to 1.5 gallons when temps are typically below 95F. Then reduce the amt of water to 1 gallon when temps are below 85F. Then reduce waterings to once a week or once every two weeks (depending on local rains) when the plants go dormant and all the leaves have browned out. Stop watering when the soil freezes. Resume Spring watering levels when you see leaf out. As the plants get larger, you will need to water more. The amount of water suggested (1 gallon in Spring) should get soil moist down to 8" but, if you insert a finger and it does not feel moist down to 8" of depth, use more than 1 gallon. To tell when to water: insert a finger into the soil to depth of 4" and only water when the soil feels dry or almost dry. Water the soil but never the leaves.

FYI: your average date of last frost is around the end of the first week or first two weeks in May so, this upcoming freezing temps may be the last one this year.


Thank you so much for all of this info - it is reassuring that, for now, it seems as though the plants may be okay and just need some extra care during the last cold spell of spring. I'm planning on covering the hydrangeas with plastic rubbermaid containers and further considering stuffing the inside of the containers with straw for extra warmth.

Thanks again for your quick response!
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 6, 2020 10:51 PM CST
The important thing is to protect those invisible flower buds that are located at the ends of the stems. If they survive, they will look like small broccoli heads when they open. They will then expand and then form blooms. But if the frost zaps them or the stem ends, the broccoli heads may look brown-ish in parts or completely.
[Last edited by luis_pr - May 7, 2020 1:56 AM (+)]
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Pennsylvania
dsisinni
May 10, 2020 8:06 AM CST
luis_pr said:The important thing is to protect those invisible flower buds that are located at the ends of the stems. If they survive, they will look like small broccoli heads when they open. They will then expand and then form blooms. But if the frost zaps them or the stem ends, the broccoli heads may look brown-ish in parts or completely.


So, despite my best efforts to cover the hydrangeas (used coverings and also added add'l covering to the leaves/ends of stems,) it looks like several leaves on each of my plants turned this purplish color? Temps were in lower twenties - record lows. Safe to say it is cold/frost damage? If so, given my plants are young, do you believe they still have chance for survival? Do you believe it is worth snipping off all of the brown/purple?

Thumb of 2020-05-10/dsisinni/b8e179
Thumb of 2020-05-10/dsisinni/0b0a03

Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 10, 2020 10:08 AM CST
They look ok in the pics, with small damage. Affected areas turn colors like reds, purples, dark green (almost black looking). Now all you need to do is wait.

The plant will decide next whether to brown out parts of the leaves or not. You may then decide on the resulting aesthetics. If the browned out leaf looks ugly, cut the it at the petiole, which is the string that connects the leaf to the stem; do not cut the stem as that the stem is where there are invisible flower buds now. If you or the plant gets rid of leaves, the next thing is to observe might be if the plant develops new, replacements in there or elsewhere (this may require a few thousands cups of coffee though).

As long as the leaf(s) is green or parts are green, it is producing food for the roots so I let them be. New leaves do not appear until 2-4 weeks.

For the next time, I wonder if frost cloth, more blankets, different blankets or even covering them mulch would have helped prevent the problem. Also probably depends on exactly just how low temps got to? Oh well. Just keep those comments in a mental drawer for Spring 2021! Ha! They are fine so do not worry. I have been zapped with no nice looking leaves left in some years.

If stems are damaged, flower buds may have gotten hurt too. But the plant has "back up" buds for such cases so it becomes a waiting game again. If they open and look like green broccoli heads, then they are ok. If the buds open and have some brown parts or are completely brown then they got hit (partly or all and then you get weird
bloomage or no bloomage),

Good luck! Luis

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