If your soil is alkaline, you've found one reason for rhododendron leaves turning yellow: mineral deficiency causing chlorosis. This seems pretty far fetched for a few reasons. In the past it has been suggested that leaf reorientation may have something to do with reducing snow load. As the leaves droop and curl, they are hypothetically increasing the humidity around their leaves and thus reducing their chances of desiccation. Now the leaves are turning a rust color, curling upward, and falling off. When living tissues freeze, ice crystals build up to the point that they can rupture cell membranes. Unfortunately however, if you see droopy leaves during the growing season, fungal root rot, often from Phytophthera is usually the cause. Though these are all components of the Rhodo leaf puzzle, there is still much work to be done. 4. Signs of rhododendron distress can usually be traced to incorrect culture or siting. When brown leaves show up in a rhododendron, it's usually at winter's end -- right before flowering time. This will prompt new growth from the area where you’ve left two leaves. Indeed, it appears that these two traits seem to be tied to cold hardiness in the genus Rhododendron. The nymphs are translucent and can appear to be the same color as the leaves. Clip off the wilted foliage just above the last two leaves. One of the most common creepy cruds that cause issues with azaleas and rhododendrons is a fungus known as water mold. What the exact triggers are and how they produce the changes in shape and orientation, as well as the mechanics of winter survival at the cellular level are topics that are going to require further study. This is because a curled leaf exposes far less surface area to the warming sun than does a flat leaf. You can take one of two actions: 1. Again, experiments were able to demonstrate that flat leaves thaw much more rapidly than curled leaves. For starters, Rhododendron simply do not open their stomata during the colder months. Throughout the growing season, they are generally shaded by the overstory. What we do know is that leaf drooping and leaf curling are two separate behaviors responding to different environmental pressures. The fact that a considerable amount of ice and snow can accumulate on branches regardless of leaf position, and largely without harm, seems to suggest that this is not the case. Healthy, vibrant leaves are an important part of the spring performance of a rhododendron (Rhodenderon spp.). Download Garden Answers Plant Identifier App Today! Rhododendron Leaves Curling and Turning Yellow and Orange - Knowledgebase Question. Question by NEWMONTER August 9, 1998. SYMPTOMS: Stunted or twisted leaves, white spots or black moldy areas on the top of foliage. 2. Sometimes one or more of these are contributing factors because if the rhodys went into the winter season dry from summer drought they are then more likely to be further stressed by cold winters. Also, their thick, waxy cuticle keeps water within the leaves from evaporating out as well. This could happen due to the hot sun or cold winter winds. The plant is about 7 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter. Leaf curl on Rhododendrons is most frequently seen when the plants are under stress from drought, stem injury or cold temperatures. My rhododendron is a couple of years old. Many a Rhodo lover has said that they can tell how cold it is outside by looking at Rhododendron leaves. Reviewin… Leaves are the best indicators of plant problems. Because the plants are, for the most part dormant, the photosystems within the chloroplasts have no way of dissipating the energy from the incoming sunlight. Sometimes one or more of these are contributing factors because if the rhodys went into the winter season dry from summer drought they are then more likely to be further stressed by cold winters. If you see curled up leaves in the summer, though, that is a sign that your Rhododendron is much too dry. Certainly not all Rhododendrons are cold hardy but those that are seem to benefit from reorienting their leaves. So, why do the leaves curl? glossy green leaves and bountiful blooms. What’s to be done now? North Bennington, VT. Buds Don’t Open Finally, leaf drooping and curling happens long before the ground freezes and therefore doesn't seem to be triggered by a lack of water in the environment. Many a Rhodo lover has said that they can tell how cold it is outside by looking at Rhododendron leaves. Though we generally don't think about photosynthesis in the winter months, evergreen plants actually experience the highest light intensities of the year during this time period. Our very wet spring may have aggravated the the situation. These are likely just some of the reasons why, relatively speaking, broad leaved evergreens are a rare occurrence in temperate zones. They will not tolerate alkaline soil conditions: their leaves go yellow, growth is stunted and they eventually fail. Leaf drooping may actually be a response to increased light. As it turns out, curling made no difference in protecting the leaves from light damage. If heavy snows break branches, so that they can no longer take water up to the leaves, this too causes foliage to curl and die. Healthy, vibrant leaves are an important part of the spring performance of a rhododendron (Rhodenderon spp.). Garden Answers is a division of Garden Answers LLC., a Greendale, Indiana based company that offers cutting-edge plant identification technology for mobile devices and has built a community of gardening experts who offer advice and guidance to our users. This seems pretty far fetched for a few reasons. If the leaves were to remain horizontal, this could cause enough snow buildup to break branches. The first of these has to do with the sensitive photosynthetic machinery inside the chloroplasts. Water immediately! To best preserve tissues via freezing, they must freeze quickly, which reduces the size of the ice crystals that can form, and then thaw out slowly. Bud blast: the fungus causing bud blast produces its spores on the black fungal 'bristles' that appear on infected buds.They are spread by water and potentially infect buds through wounds made by the rhododendron leafhopper when it punctures the bud to lay its eggs (although some recent research has cast a doubt on this link between the pest and disease). Leaf curl on Rhododendrons is most frequently seen when the plants are under stress from drought, stem injury or cold temperatures. Once a section becomes afflicted the progress of the affliction spreads rapidly. As such, curled leaves don't thaw out as fast and thus are able to avoid much of the damaging effects of daily freeze-thaw cycles. The rhododendron is an amazingly beautiful flowering plant to grow in the garden. It would seem that drooping and curling are responses to two different types of environmental stress. Winter damage that makes foliage brown can have several causes, but all relate to excessive drying of rhododendron leaves. The leaf gall fungus, Exobasidium vaccinii, distorts the shape of rhododendron leaves so that they curl backward rather than downward, as in the … I wanted to know what is the problem and how I could fix it. When brown leaves show up in a rhododendron, it's usually at winter's end -- right before flowering time. Rhododendron leaves will often curl and droop in response to cold weather. These leaf movements do seem to be tied to the weather but their triggers and function have been the source of a lot of debate. By far the most popular group of plants in this category are the Rhododendrons. Your rhododendron leaves are turning brown because they may be suffering from scorched leaves. Over the past few weeks, however, I notice that while much of the plant looks good (leaves appear normal), parts of the plant just seem to be dying off - leaves curl up and then just fall off.
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