Ask a Question forum: Need help with hydrangea!

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Nov 12, 2016 2:55 PM CST
Hi - I am an extremely novice gardener in Southern NH who planted two pinky winky hardy hydrangeas at the end of September. (They were a wedding gift.) We put some compost under the root balls when planting them, and since then I have been watering them 1-2 times/week. They were doing fine until a couple weeks ago when they started to droop. One of them in particular looks like it is in rough shape, with brown around edges of some leaves and leaves starting to shrivel and fall off. (This is the one in the pics. The leaves under it are temporary - I have mulch I will put there instead.) Do they need more water? Less water? Are they getting too much sun? Help! I don't want these new shrubs to die.
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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Nov 12, 2016 5:30 PM CST
Just a guess, looking at the pic I notice it is downstream of a gutter, they require average to moderate moisture in well drained soil, they like 4-6 hrs of sunlight with more in the Northern climes. Since this is the only one that is having issues, I might transplant it to another location where it not getting quite as much moisture.

Additionally if you decide to transplant the shrub, dig a hole 2x as wide as the shrub is, and mix the compost in with the soil you are taking out than backfill with the mixed soil and compost.
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[Last edited by crawgarden - Nov 12, 2016 5:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
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Nov 13, 2016 8:55 PM CST
Might not be a problem at all. Considering where you live,I am south of you and most my Hydrangea have lost their leaves for the season.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Nov 13, 2016 11:12 PM CST
Yes, it's that time of year that many plants go dormant.

Laurie B
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Nov 14, 2016 4:03 AM CST
Welcome! I agree it could just be the time of year although the tips of some of the branches look shrivelled so there appears to be some die-back as well. It's not possible to say if they've had too much or too little water without knowing how much they've had.

What kind of compost did you put under them and how much? When you're planting in the future it is probably better not to do that but mix it into the whole planting area (not just the backfill) or just spread it on top of the soil surface.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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Nov 14, 2016 11:04 AM CST
I agree with all the good advice above. I think it is losing its leaves for the winter, and will come back in the spring.

Definitely think about moving it away from that downspout area though. In a heavy rain it could sure get too much water all at once. You might want to wait until it's lost all the leaves before moving it.

Then, as you say, mulch generously with leaves, hay, grass clippings, wood chips or compost to prevent heaving during the winter months. (freeze/thaw cycles actually can "heave" plants right out of the ground, tearing roots along the way).

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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Nov 15, 2016 11:49 AM CST
I agree Also ! Did you scuff up the root ball before you planted it ?
And the grass under it should go by by. Your plant will be happier not compeating with grass roots.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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