Rhodie with new spring foilage wilting - causes?

Beaver Falls, PA(Zone 6a)

I have a friend who has a problem with one of her rhododenrons. This plant is a year old and bloomed well. In the last several weeks, the new growth that has started growing is wilting, just as if someone pulled a plug on it. The older foilage is not doing this, just the new tender growth. The plant was in filtered sunlight and it received a couple of hours at most of direct sunlight in the afternoon.

She bought the plant from a local, private garden center. After taking a piece of the wilted stem so they could examine it, she was told that there was no insects or insect damage present. They offered to replace the plant at 50% the cost of the new one. I saw the plant myself when it was on its way back to the garden center to be returned. I've never seen anything like this either so I can't help her.

Any ideas on this wilting problem on the new growth?

Linda

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

New tender growth may be more susceptible to moisture loss from either higher temperatures or from strong winds, both common in the summer months. But you would expect the plant to recover on its own by nightfall or in the morning. In other words, it should be a temporary kind of a thing. In case the shrub is having trouble supplying enough moisture, test the soil near the root ball with a finger to make sure that it feels moist -not wet- at a depth of 4" and make sure that it has 3-4" of acidic mulch.

Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6a)

It could be a stem fungus or just lack o water

Tokyo, Japan(Zone 10a)

Was the dying foliage yellow?

Beaver Falls, PA(Zone 6a)

Hmmm, stem fungus. I have to look that one up. I've never heard of it.

No, the dying foliage was not yellow. It was just drooping, wilted-looking. And only this year's growth was wilting.

The rootball seemed fine. Nothing out of the ordinary there. This plant replaced an old rhodie that had been in place since the home was built - probably in the late 50's. The area where the rhodies are should be just fine for them. Shade with some filtered sunlight a few hours a day. I had said direct sun earlier, but I think high growing trees on the property filter the sunlight. And not heavy shade. Bright shade. An azalia in the same area is doing fine. The area is mulched and there is pachysandra ground cover there as well.

This really has me puzzled. I've never heard of or seen anything like it before.

Linda

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

I had this symptom on some of my newly planted rhodies. I believe the cause was not enough moisture in the existing rootball. Even though I massacred the rootballs before planting the new foliage stilll wilted. I was afraid I was overwatering when in fact the opposite was the case. When I started watering them more frequently they stopped wilting.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

When the rootball starts to dry out, it tends to repel water. To counteract this tendency, you can (a) use the concept of drip irrigation (let a water hose drip very slowly on top of the rootball for at least one hour or two) or (b) dug the rootball out and dump it in water until you feel the soil absorb the water (not useful or practical with large/old shrubs). Which rhodies did you plant, killdawabbit?

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

Holden and Mary Fleming

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

I have not seen Holden but looked it up and it is nice. How do you like MF so far? It is a bicolor whose pictures show different shades of yellow when I have seen them, leaving me confused as to what the "real" thing looks like.

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

I love MF. Very nice foliage. It only bloomed a bit last spring since I had just purchased it at a local big box. As I remember the blooms are a mix of pink and very light yellow-green. So far it is making it just fine through this winter.

This message was edited Jan 26, 2010 12:34 PM

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