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Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Midas on July 15, 2006 10:54 AM
Hello everyone,

Shame on me - I apologize - I neglected to mention that I live in southwestern Ontario, Canada - two minutes from Lake Ontario. The Hydrangea gets the sun all morning and by late afternoon it is shade time. It seems that the flowers are quite healthy and the leaves that turned brown are only on one side of the plant. So what says you?
by luis_pr on July 17, 2006 12:31 PM
Hello, Midas. Any idea of what is special on that side? Normally, this time of the year, you get problems due to lack of moisture or too much moisture.

But to get such a problem, one would have to affect the amount of water that the plant is getting on that side. Is there a sprinkler head nearby that could cause too muchg water to accumulate? Is there something that would block water from a nearby sprinkler head so that this area gets no water?

If the problem is too much water on that side, the roots could have developed a fungal infection (root rot) and your plant may or may not recover. It would depend on the plant and the extent of the damage.

How old is this plant? Do you know the variety? Are you maintaining the soil moist? Or is it wet? Is it planted in a pot? Do you have mulch around the base of the plant? Was it root bound when you planted it? Could the roots in that area have been injured somehow?

The opposite problem can also kill the plant. If you water too little on that side then the roots and sections of the plant would die. However, if this was the case, you would have noticed wilting of the leaves first.

To tell if the plant is getting too much or too little water, I suggest you monitor the soil moisture for the next week daily with a moisture meter or by inserting a finger to a depth of 2-3 inches.

If the soil feels dry often then the plant needs more water. If the soil feels wet then the plant has too much water; determine why and take appropriate action. Depending on the amount of damage that has already happened, the plant may or may not recover. All you can do is baby it and keep an eye for any other symptoms.

Since the plant is under stress, do not think of feeding it any chemical fertilizers. An organic product like Liquid Seaweed would be the most I would recommend if your soil lacks nutrients.

Good luck,
by Midas on July 18, 2006 12:27 PM
Hi Luis,

the Hydrangea is only three to four weeks old. It was in a pot but then was transferred to the garden with top black soil. I added mulch to the base. I water it daily with Miracle Gro but not over do it, since it has been hot and humid for the last week or so (approx. 43 degrees). Inspite of all this - the leaves still look healthy and the flowers too. I will keep an eye and try the Liquid Seaweed.

Thanks Luis.

by joclyn on July 18, 2006 04:31 PM
the leaves may be getting burned - from the sun and/or water droplets on the leaves (the water magnifies the sunlight).

when watering, spray the water around the 'drip line'. that's the spot where the outmost leaves are - it's called the drip line because, when it rains, that's where the water drips off the leaves. always make sure to spray right at the soil level - never from above as you take the chance of water getting on the leaves.

i always give my hydrangea a REALLY good, slow, soak at the drip line and then one good spurt right at the roots. this is important when you've just transplanted (any type of plant). you want the roots to spread out to help the plant become well established.

by watering a bit further away, the roots are forced to spread out to reach the water...
by luis_pr on July 19, 2006 04:36 AM
Hello, Midas. Hydrangeas are not hungry plants and can do with just one application of composted manure in July for the northern climates. You probably have been using Miracle Gro weekly or bi-weekly so quit now. Considering that it can have at most 30% nitrogen, you have fertilized more than enough already.

At this time of the year, consistent and even soil moisture are the things you need to concentrate on. Considering you do not live in a hot climate like Texas, watering daily sound like too much. It can cause root rot.

What I have done with one hydrangea that I planted in May is to monitor the soil moisture daily for a few weeks since summer started. Then I increased the visits to every other day and now I randomly check. If the soil feels dry, that tells me that I need to water; otherwise, I hold back.

You may notice wilting but do not panic. Wilting is a normal reaction to windy weather, hot temperatures or lack of water. Large leaf plants suffer from this more than small leaf plants. A plant that is correctly watered should recover from a wilting episode by the next morning; i.e., it should be no big deal. If it does not recover by morning or if you notice extreme wilting then immediately water. Consider increasing the amount of water being supplied to the plant if that happens often.

Since your plant is just a few weeks old then make sure that you slowly water the area between the main trunk(s) and the drip line. Just like Joclyn said. Minimize wetting the leaves as that can cause fungal infections too.

I am still concerned as to why one side of the plant is suffering. Any ideas why this is so? Keep us posted on your progress or if other symptoms develop.

by Midas on July 20, 2006 12:00 PM
To Joclyn and Luis, thanks for your information, the hydrangea started looking alive and getting more healthy leaves. I have taken the advice of watering from the base, and it seems to be working well. Love it. Will keep you informed if any unpleasantness happens again. Wow!!!
by joclyn on July 21, 2006 08:49 AM
i'm so glad to hear that your hydrangea has perked up!!!

i forgot to mention that they should be watered early in the morning or late in the day...never in the hottest part of the day (approx 11 am to 2 pm).
by gardenfairy on July 21, 2006 04:34 PM
Garden Helper
Member # 10308

posted July 21, 2006 04:32 PM
It could be stress on the plant, or watering them during the day. We have an sprinkler system and it was coming on at 2:00 in the afternoon and burning my plants, I had to move them. Hydrangea's love water, espically new ones. It is best to baby them for the first year ( I generally water them twice a day early in the morning and in the evening with my new ones) Be carefull of nitrogen rich fertilizers as well, hydrangeas really don't like those kind. Hope this helps

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