Rhododrendron

Landisburg, PA(Zone 6a)

after this long cold winter most of my roddies have leaves still curled like when it is cold. Some of the lower branchers the leaves are normal looking. Any idea what this is and what I can do for them??

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Would you be able to post a picture?

Central, MD(Zone 7a)

Bluepoppy,

IMO: Give your Rhodies time to bounce back. They have had a rough winter. Your main concern should be "dieback".
I am very conservative in cutting back dieback and want to be sure of it. I'm sure there are others who treat dieback aggressively.

The picture below is taken from google images "rhododendron dieback."
http://plantpath.caes.uga.edu/extension/plants/woodyornamentals/images/rhbotry1.jpg

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah I have a couple that have that symptom right now. I was just going to cut it off. Maybe I'll wait and see what happens.

Landisburg, PA(Zone 6a)

can't post a pic but it does look like the one on the site only worse. Guess I will give it the summer and see what they do. If I cut all that out I won't have much left to the plants.

Central, MD(Zone 7a)

Oh no don't wait that long. If it doesn't come around in the next few weeks cut it off. Prune it back to the last "Y" or split.

Landisburg, PA(Zone 6a)

well a couple will be about ground level if I cut all that off.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Sounds like replacement time to me, especially if the ones in your yard are worse than the ones Terp pictured. Once a section has died back, it won't grow back. This is unless you cut it back to where it's living again and then it should sprout from there. I think the main reason for waiting a few weeks to cut back is to see if anything happens with the buds. But if the leaves look like the picture above, it's likely the branches are shot. If it were me, I'd cut it back or replace it. I'm very impatient when it comes to nursing a plant; mostly due to the fact everything in our yard is young. Nevertheless, I figure, why nurse a dying plant a few years when you can watch a healthy plant from the nursery grow?

Landisburg, PA(Zone 6a)

well mine are all ages.. Old and not very old. And only one came through with no leaves looking like that... Then I guess winter killed them? They were fine in the fall.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah it was a pretty tough winter on a lot of things.

Laingsburg, MI

I have a small rhododendron that has emerged from the winter with brown leaves and buds. Any advice? It was mulched before winter.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

The flower buds that are brown are likely toast and won't bloom this year. As long as the leaves are collectively all brown, the plant is still alive and should produce new leaves from dormant leave buds. It was a pretty harsh winter for rhodies and you're in a cold 6a, pretty close to 5b. Most rhodies don't do too well past zone 5.

Laingsburg, MI

Should I allow the plant to drop the leaves on its own? I was looking at the rhodie selection at a local garden center and found a few with a hardness zone of 4. I guess they wouldn't stock them if they didn't sell.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

If there are any stems where all the leaves are brown and hanging down, I'd cut off those branches as they are dead. Anything that is saying a rhodie is hardy to zone 4 should be researched before purchase. Sometimes garden centers sell plants that aren't even hard for your zone. My local nursery very frequently sells plants that are hardy for zone 7 but we're 6b so those plants would have died this past winter. I don't like to trust just the tag on saying something is hardy unless it's a plant I'm already familiar with. Zone 4 is -30, which is a pretty harsh environment for them but there are a few varieties who can handle it.

Any variety of rhododendron, if not sited properly could get winter damage even if hardy for your zone. I'm not sure where your knowledge level on this is so forgive me if you already know this. Winter winds are generally devoid of moisture and dry out the plant when passing by. Most of these winds come from the north or northwest. Siting a rhodi in these locations on your property is not advised unless there is some sort of protection from exposure, i.e. burlap wrap or evergreens nearby. When the winds come by and suck the moisture from the leaves the soil is generally frozen in the winter and the plant cannot replace lost moisture in the leaves by drawing from the roots. The result is desiccated leaves. There is also a product called Wilt Pruf that protects plants from this. I used it for the first time this year on a Cryptomeria and it worked wonderfully.

Laingsburg, MI

Thank you for your great info. The rhodie in question is planted facing north. One or two of the flower buds are slightly green but stagnant, and the leaves are mostly brown as well as the stems, so I will prune back to give it a chance.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

HopeSue, I'm not sure I'd prune it right now. Wait a while and see if it pushes new growth. If it doesn't push new growth then you might want to replace it with something else.

Landisburg, PA(Zone 6a)

The one I had asked about with the brown spotty leaves has dropped those leaves but the buds have bloomed...Glad I didn't prune back or dig out. It is beautiful.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah good thing. Glad it seems better!

Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6a)

Most Rhododendrons have curley leaves in cold weather. It is a mechanism that shows s smaller surface to the cold and gives them more hardiness.

Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6a)

Curled leaves and drooping leaves are normal responses of rhododendrons to cold. I think the difference between the upper and lower leaves may be due to snow cover protecting the lower leaves. are

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