MrsBird
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newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

We live in Central NY and planted these Endless Summer hydrangeas earlier this summer. We watered hem regularly and they seemed "happy" but we never got any additional blooms. Now it's turning colder and the leaves are changing colors. I don't know if this is a normal fall color change or if something else is going on? Can someone please help!!

Thanks!!
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digitS'
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

I was just looking at my hydrangea.

We have had two light frosts although, that much cold may not have reached all the way down to the hydrangea. It just burned the top most dahlia blooms at home, where both are here in the front yard.

The foliage on the hydrangea is exactly that purple rust color.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

MrsBird
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

Thanks, I got some feedback from some other locals in the area too and they are all telling me that this is normal fall change.

luis_pr
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

Hmmm, I am not so sure. The leaves on the majority of macrophyllas tend to turn yellowish in the Fall while a small number, like Lady In Red, etc will resemble oakleaf hydrangea leaves that to turn red/purple/brown-ish colors. The whole leaf should change, not bits or pieces like in your picture.

My concern is on the somewhat circular orange/brown roundish spots that can become large blobs/spots. There is a fungal infection called leaf spot or Cercospora Leaf Spot that looks like that. Also, some of the leaves in the picture (near 3 o'clock and 7-8 o'clock) look grayish... sign of either dust or powdery mildew (PM), yet another fungal infection.

If you can read the information on the link below and confirm that these are fungal infections, I would address them by not doing any overhead watering and instead watering the soil early in the mornings only (5-6am). Watering the leaves usually results in these issues, which become visible now as Fall arrives, chlorophyll production goes down (it masks the leaf spots in prior months) and carotenoid/anthocyanin pigments production goes up. To avoid the spread of these two infections, I dispose the dried out leaves in the trash and, in "bad" years, I replace the mulch as well.

There are some fungicides that you can use for leaf spot but they cost a lot and they only help control it, not cure it. Your leaves are about to dry out soon so it is hard to decide whether to buy fungicides for Cercospora or not but, if you buy, you could start applying fungicides for leaf spot by next year's summer. I have some old macs with Cercospora that I control with drip irrigation and disposing of dead leaves.

For PM, good air circulation, which this plant appears to have, also helps. PM remedies that you can try: (1) 1 tbsp of baking soda + 1 tsp hort oil (or liquid soap) + 1 gallon of water (this solution is more of a preventative measure than a cure); (2) same as before but replace baking soda by potassium bicarbonate; (3) 1 part milk to 9 parts water (or a stronger solution like 1 milk to 2 water) or (4) apply neem oil according to label directions. Or commercial fungicides of course.

https://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1212/ANR-1212.pdf

MrsBird
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

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Ok, here's pics of all 3 of my hydrangeas.

We have some of a larger variety we planted just this year that are thriving! Lots of large blossoms.

Do you think it's possible that we just got a bad bunch of plants? If these all have some fungus? We got them all at the same garden center less than 6 months ago...
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luis_pr
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

ES has been known to have some blooming issues in cold locales (Z4 - Z6) even though it is advertised to be hardy. Since the wholesaler tries to make the plant bloom earlier than normal to make a sale, ignore (this year only) this issue and see how it performs the next 3 years instead.

Nurseries like to group hydrangeas closely so they can water them in less time but this does not provide good air flow. As a result, the plants catch PM easily there.

Leaf spot is a fungus that is "almost everywhere". I have it in mopheads located in the north side of the house and am trying to make sure that the other hydrangeas elsewhere do not catch it.

I try to control it by watering very early in the mornings (5-6am) so the humidity evaporates quickly, watering the soil using drip irrigation and I throw the Fall's dried out leaves in the trash as they are probably full of spores by now. I also replace the mulch with 'new' mulch when many of the leaves look bad.

luis_pr
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

Hi, Mrs Bird. So sorry but I am going to retract what I said before and now say that you may have fall color change after all. I ran into a similarly looking leaves recently and from those, I concluded that, as you originally suspected, it may be Fall color change. If the color had been more darker brown, I would go with leaf spot.

Check out the picture in this link (scroll down to "Problems"):
https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/ ... c1067.html

Peter1142
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

Either way not much point in worrying about it - the season is over and the plants should be fine in the Spring. I have Hydrangeas looking like that and am not concerned.
Zone 6b SE NY
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luis_pr
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Re: newbie question! Are these sick or is this fall change?

Lucky you. I am still waiting for my hydrangeas (oakleaf hydrangeas) to do that but they are just plain ole dark green still. Maybe further up north will they have started by now...

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