Sick Rhodies

Wolfeboro, NH

I have several mature Rhododendrons in my yard in NE Pennsylvania. This spring there are an exceptional amount of dead leaves and branches on some of the plants while the others seem normal. What is wrong and what should I do?

Thumbnail by NHPANZ
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Could it be damage from that unusual cold snap that hit a lot of the country a few weeks ago? Or was the damage there before that?

Wolfeboro, NH

The location of these plants is not my primary home so I am not sure about the recent cold spell. I know the damage was not present at the end of last season. Thanks for your reply, the early warmth followed by a cold snap could be the reason.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

That would be my guess, the ones that were damaged less were probably sheltered a bit more from the cold and wind. Unfortunately if you don't know when the damage occurred it's hard to say for sure that's what it is rather than something else, but I think it's the most likely thing since I know a number of other people that suffered similar damage to plants with the recent cold snap.

Wolfeboro, NH

Thanks for your input.

Clatskanie, OR(Zone 9b)

It looks to me like it got fed on into the domant season, keeping it from getting dormant before the freezing weather came. This makes it so easy for it to freeze during the cold weather. Also we need to hold the water back on them in late summer, to help them dry out and get dormant, and stop growing before freezing weather begins. Frank

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Since we don't know exactly when the damage occurred that is a possibility, but the year that this particular rhodie got damaged there was a late extreme cold snap across much of the eastern part of the country, so even if everything was done right and the plant wasn't fertilized during its dormant season, the weather had already gotten warm and springlike before the cold snap and many plants were starting to put out their spring growth and then all of a sudden around Easter time everything froze.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

The big, extended, once in 100 years "2007 Easter Freeze" came after three weeks of unseasonably warm weather with temps reaching the low 70s'. Nearly everthing had broken dormancy, then temperatures plunged to the teens and stayed there for over two weeks. It caused millions of dollars of plant losses throughout the east and midwest.

southern willamette , OR(Zone 7a)

NHPANZ.... just out of curiosity, how does the rhody look now?

(Debra) Derby, KS(Zone 6a)

I bought an azalea rhodendron? at Walmart on close out and it seems to look just like the one up in Buffalo, NY where my mom-in-law has a huge set of bushes facing North. Mine faces east up against the brick in the front flower bed. I just brought home some seeds and two cuttings from her plants ( she calls them rodendrons) . Can I plant them with the one out front or should I wait until spring? shouod I cover the plant out front like I do the Other plants under leaves for the winter? I live in zone 5. thanks in advance for all your help..

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

No, gather the seeds now, allow them to dry, keep them in a mail envelope until February. Then remove them, sow them on top of a milled sphagnum moss and horticultural perlite mix that has been pre-sterilized with boiling water an allowed to cool. Place the pot inside a plastic bag using stakes to keep the plastic away from the new plant. Then locate it where it gets only indirect sunlight and rotate it weekly. A place with temperatures around 65 to 75F is fine. The seeds will sprout weeks thereafter (3-8+). Their tiny tender leaves will not stand to the frost until the plant is several months old.

Plants grown from seed will not match the parent unless the parent shrub is a species rhododendron. Cuttings or air layering may be used if this is important.


(Cindy) Auburn, CA(Zone 10a)

Where are the seeds and when is a good time to collect them? I'm new to seed collecting.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

The seed pods should have grown where the flowers used to be. See these pictures:

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