Rhododendron Leaves Curl And Die

Q: My rhododendron is about six years old was planted with three others at same time which are doing fine. Many leaves on this particular one however in past few months have rolled under,turned brown and the branches died. Other branches and leaves on this plant seem fine. What could it be and what should I do? If I prune all the dead branches it would look quite odd. I think I would need to also prune the healthy ones back. Should I remove the entire plant to prevent the others from getting same problem? I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. Thank you. A worried gardner


Root rot often causes the leaves of rhododendrons to curl and die. It can spread to its neighbors, so I suggest you remove it. If you choose to replace it look for disease resistant varieties. Check with a good independent nursery in your area. It's important to keep plants watered during drought, but overwatering can cause fungal diseases. Be sure to clean you tools with alcohol when finished and clean up all leaves and twigs. Best and Happy Yardening, Nancy

Q: Nancy, Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am wondering, seeing as it is only less than 1/4 of the shrub that is damaged, could just cut the damaged/dead branches and remove them from the property so it does not spread to other plants ? I appreciate your advise. Thank you. Gabrielle


Gabrielle, I am not a plant doctor so I don't feel qualified to make that call. You said removing the damaged material will leave behind a misshapen plant. One of the big mistakes we gardeners make is not letting a sick plant go. Three years later you may say - but it still has a few green leaves. Life is not easy --- Best Nancy