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Rhododendron with discolored leaves

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#1 Guest_MemberServices_*

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 09:22 AM

My rhododendron is getting red-orange leaves. Is it having problems?
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#2 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich
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Posted 20 September 2006 - 08:55 PM

Are the worrisome leaves all over the plant, just on the upper parts or lower, just on one branch, and have they been there all year? The pattern that damage or change follows is as important a part of dignosing trouble as any other detail.

Leaves turning color low on the plant can mean dry soil, or suddenly increasing shade. Discolored leaves on top can mean too much exposure to sun or wind, or roots beginning to be waterlogged. Leaves off color just on one branch may mean that one branch has been cracked or chewed or otherwise damaged toward its base. Etc.

Leaves that turn color early -- and some rhododendron species normally take on a maroon or bronzey-orange cast in winter -- are usually a sign of palnt stress. A savvy gardener reads that sign and starts looking for things like too much scompetition from groundcovers (rhodies have shallow roots and don't compete well with pachysandra, ivy, myrtle etc.). overly dry soil (rhodies like it evenly moist, especially if other factors such as wind are not to their liking), being planted too deep, being in soil that's poorly drained, having their sun cut off... etc.
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