Hgcham
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What is wrong with my Endless Summer Hydrangeas?

I have several Endless Summer Hydrangeas that are about 8 years old. I noticed last week that some of them have wilted branches that go down to the root of the plant. Not like the wilted look when it needs water. We have had tons of rain followed by extreme heat. I am concerned that it will kill the plant.
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Jaiaceae
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: What is wrong with my Endless Summer Hydrangeas?

It does look stress but only in that portion where its wilting. Has the wilting spread to the stems beside it? Could have been the extremes in conditions. You can prune those affected stems off cut them right down to the base. Just to be sure sterilise tools before and after pruning.
Don't ever forget to stop and smell the roses

luis_pr
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Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

Re: What is wrong with my Endless Summer Hydrangeas?

Continuous 24/7 amounts of wilting like that could be signs of limited amounts of root problems. I call it limited because only one area is affected. I had that happen to one stem in one plant only this year, after torrential El Nino rains. The problem started about a month ago or maybe slighly less. I assume either there is/was some limited amount of root rot or there is/was some damage due to pests like voles.

If it was damage due to voles, they have not munched on other plants or other areas around that shrub (yet... knock on wood for luck). I have not applied pressure to the soil to detect their tunnels collapsing when I apply pressure; instead, I am looking for sudden and similar behaviour from the other nearby plants.

I have kept watering to a minimum since the torrential rains stopped. As a result, I once watered this shrub by hand some weeks ago and have done the same with a paniculata and oakleaf whose location is protected from rains by the house or a tree. Only this week did I finally use my drip to water all the hydrangeas, etc. But once since last year is not bad at all.

The soil in the area where my shrub is planted has had plenty of organic compost and composted manure added thru the years but, it is basically clayish so drainage is not perfect. If the damage does not spread, I may decide that it was some root rot. After the rains stopped I have tried not to water until absolutely necessary; I test the soil with a soil moisture meter but you can insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4" and water if the soil feels dry or slmost dry.

My shrub is not a large plant but at least 12 years old so it is not small either. I decided I was not going to extract it and look at the roots unless things get much worse. I too am about to cut the affected stem either this or next weekend but, I left it alone so I could remember where the problem was and so I could monitor that location better. I did not fertilize the soil this year due to the rains; I did not want the plants growing more roots into areas that were supersaturated (getting so much water due to the El Nino rains). I suppose my logic was I know they still would grow some more roots thru the growing season on their own but I just did not want them to "add" too much capacity this year and catch some root rot in the process. Hee hee hee.

laurie basler
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Re: What is wrong with my Endless Summer Hydrangeas?

Is there an insect inside the rolled leaves. Some leaf roller insect can do this and aphids do this. I would suspect aphids, and if you are seeing more ants than usual it is even more likely aphids. I would remove the sections affected, inspect the inside of these leaves, and see what you find. Root rot would affect your overall plant.

luis_pr
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Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

Re: What is wrong with my Endless Summer Hydrangeas?

No, the leaves are just wilted downwards, not rolled like you would see with those early Spring insects.

The hydrangea leaftier larva binds two or as many as four leaves together with strands of silk into a cup form and then feeds and rests between them. Pulling apart the leaves will reveal a half-inch-long slender green caterpillar with a black head.

The leafroller insect also causes similar damage, but rolls only one leaf, then feeds and rests within the rolled leaf.

Both insects cause unsightly damage, but won’t harm the hydrangeas.

When you see the damage in early spring, open the leaves to inspect the contents and squish the buds that you find. If this rates a 1,000 in your 1-10 EEEEECK Scale, you can also cut off the infested leaves at the petiole and squash the caterpillars or throw them into the trash. Clean up the ground below the shrubs, too, because the caterpillars drop to the ground and pupate in the summer and emerge as adult moths.

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