ewperki
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Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures included.

Hi!

My parents gifted me a hydrangea from a nursery, and I haven't had time to put it out. I wanted to see if I could get a diagnosis from you all - I'm afraid it's root rot because there is some wilt-age and there has been a lot of rain lately. Buuuut, I'm starting to think the side of the house it's on might get too much sun (my full sun zinnias and rosemary are doing very well). The pot that it's in also has a hole in the bottom, so I'm thinking the drainage is probably at least borderline adequate.

It's movable right now, but I don't want to plant it and have it ultimately die because of rot.

Any thoughts?
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Thanks!!
Betsy

valley
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Hi Betsy, Welcome, Love your accent. That plant, you said you hadn't time to put it out. It does look like it may have been over watered and the leaves show what could be signs of rot. When you planting would have been a good time to check the roots. Rot would have the roots soft, dark and easily breaking away. Healthy roots are pliable, won't snap or pull off, and can be bent without breaking.

What is happening with the ground now? Is it drier? In one of the pictures the very top leaves are suffering, that to me is a sign of over watering, you mentioned it has been raining a good deal.

You can keep an eye on these plants if the conditions have changed. A change for the better should show in a short time like a week.

If the ground there is to the saturation point and usually stays that way, it would be a good idea to find a different place for them.

Keep us up on the the goings on with this so we can follow the progress and suggest what we feel will help. Glad you came by Betsy, nice having you around.

Richard

Just reread you post, you're talking about one plant that's still in a pot. I'd permit the soil in the pot to dry, or put it in better soil in the ground or container I thought large enough.

ewperki
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

It is now officially in the ground. Picked a different spot - where my big leaf hydrangeas are living pretty happily. Will probably have to transplant later, but the backyard is a jungle and when we cut down those trees it will be full full sun. So…close to the front porch it goes!

The roots were not fragile, were very pliable, and didn't smell bad. Plus, the weather should be dry for the next several days.

I'm including a picture of my big leafs, because I have this terrible bug called pride.

I will update when somethin' happens. :D

Thanks for your help Richard!
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valley
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Good to see your hydrangea doing so well.

Richard

luis_pr
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

I think it looks happy where it is now and it probably did not have root rot. Maybe a mineral defficiency or excess that can only verified with a soil test. I see that type of damage when too much fertilizer is used or when there is too much salt or too little magnesium. For example, some fertilizers can "leave" salt deposits when you apply too much fertilizer; and some plants can get salt in the NE when planted close to the roads that get regularly salted during the winter months. Magnesium deficiency causes that look on the leaf edges but the problem is usually only noticeable on the lower half of the plant. Two teaspoons of magnesium suolfate per gallon of water corrects this.

There are some kits which serve as soil tests for some minerals. You can try to find them al local nurseries but I would simply add a 1/2 to 1/2" layer of organic compost, as this has a whole slew of minerals and should help correct deficiencies. Only if the problem persists would I then try to get a soil test kit or make a "formal" soil test.

If it had root rot issues, the roots would stink a little and would not be able to provide moisture to the leaves, causing a constant 24-hr droopy look no matter how much you watered.

Fertilizing Hydrangeas: Give them a 1/2 to 1 cup of organic compost or cottonseed meal in the Spring and make sure that fertilizer applied to the grass does not also get to the hydrangeas. A single application of a slow-release general purpose fertilizer should last the whole season in most places since hydrangeas are not heavy feeders like roses). Around the Gulf Coast and in Florida, however, I would apply fertilizer twice since the growing season is very long and there is usually little risk of frost damage. You can also add some coffee grounds, liquid seaweed (it is also a foliar feed) or liquid fish but stop fertilzing in all manners by the end of June so the plants will go dormant on time.

Do not forget to maintain 3-4" of mulch thru the year and amend the soil if it is alkaline.


Luis

ewperki
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Hi Luis!

Thanks for your reply!!

It raises another question - the two other hydrangeas that I planted a few weeks ago were initially blue, but now they are decidedly purple…which makes me think that my soil might be alkaline. Granted - I just planted them, so I'm not sure that they are "settled" yet.

If I do a "formal test" as you say, and discover than my soil is alkaline and my hydrangeas are not toying with my emotions, is there a way to amend the soil to make it more acidic that works best? In your opinion?

Thanks!!
Betsy

luis_pr
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

It is common for hydrangeas to change color when their roots or stems have been "disturbed" and certainly transplanting to the ground fits into that category. I still remember going to a Wal-Mart Store in my sister's town. They had many hydrangeas on sale so I stopped to see them and wow! I found some whose blooms are supposed to be white with lots of pinkish hues. The stems showing the color change had been bent or trampled. So here you had white blooms on healthy blooms alongside not so white blooms. It was quite odd! I thought it was some kind of “new” hydrangea for afar.

Because your color change happened so close to the time the shrub was replanted and because the roots in the potting mix have not had enough time to grow into the surrounding soil that much, transplanting from the pot to the ground probably cause the color issue. The roots were disturbed and are not delivering as much aluminum to the blooms. Your soil may be alkaline (or not) but it is too early to see such a big and fast color change. Soil changes can cause the color change over longer periods of time unless you have been adding lots of garden lime to the soil.

You can do a formal soil test or obtain a soil pH test kit from local nurseries. Some of these test kits are cheap but deliver the results by turning a solution of water, soil and a pill into selected colors. As such it is not so accurate but probably enough for what you want. You can also ask neighbors, especially others who have hydrangeas. They may be able to tell you if your soil is acidic or alkaline.

I have to acidify my soil because the soil and the water here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area are alkaline. I know from experience that if I amend the soil in Spring, I may need to add a boost by July-August on some years so I am getting used to amending twice a year. The fastest reacting amendments are liquids and by that I mean those iron chelated liquid compounds sold under many brands. Now fastest reacting does not mean overnight unfortunately but more than a week. Liquids have to be applied more often; follow the instructions on the labels. The non-liquids take a while longer to make effect but last longer. Since aluminum is the mineral that triggers color change, apply some aluminum sulfate. But be careful that plants like azaleas and rhododendrons do not like a/s in large quantities.

Another approach you can use is to add garden Sulphur, green sand, iron sulfate, etc. Most soils contain naturally occurring aluminum but hydrangeas cannot absorb the aluminum when the soil is alkaline so add garden Sulphur, greensand or iron Sulfate to lower the soil pH and theeeen the hydrangeas can absorb the aluminum.

So which to use. I usually use whichever one I have handy. I lean towards liquids when the plant’s leaves look v-e-r-y chlorotic (and I applied the powders a few weeks after the liquids)but otherwise, I use any one of the powders that I have handy. I ran out of aluminum sulfate last year so, this year I am amending with garden Sulphur. Note: read the label directions as the amounts vary wildly by product.

Another note: I add enough amendments to prevent the leaves from getting chlorotic, not to force the color to turn blue. However, I have been experimenting color changes with a Lacecap Hydrangea and am trying to maintain the soil pH at the "current levels" because its blooms have turned a nice purple.

Oh yeah; a story behind that. I got it at Lowes. It was on sale without blooms at the time. The label said ‘Nikko Blue’. Then the first time it bloomed, I was at first shocked because it had lacecap blooms! What happened? Woops! don't you just hate mislabeled plants? Hee hee hee!

Luis

luis_pr
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Typo: replace this:

"I found some whose blooms are supposed to be white with lots of pinkish hues."

with this:

"I found some whose blooms were supposed to be white but instead, they had both white blooms or white blooms with lots of pinkish hues."

ewperki
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Luis! Thanks for all of the wonderful info!!

I will be sure to pick up an at-home soil tester at some point…I'm interested to see what type of soil we have on our hands. I know I definitely need to up the loam…we are all clay all day here in NC. When I planted all of my hydrangeas, I put some gravel in the bottom of the holes and mixed half original dirt and half miracle grow garden dirt to fill. Hoping for the best!

My big leaf (?) hydrangeas are from Lowes as well. I actually did not read the label beyond the planting instructions…so I have no idea what these plants are claimed to be, haha! They looked so healthy, I couldn't pass them up. And, they weren't foil-wrapped like all of the hydrangeas at Home Depot. I'm interested to see what happens with the "Annabelle" if it survives. That plant came from a nursery - blooms unseen.

We will see!

Thanks again for all this great info!! I will post more pictures when/if there is a definite change.
Betsy

ewperki
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 11:42 pm
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Here's a quick update on my hydrangeas:

The blues are starting to bleach out in the blooms. Weird?
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The discoloration continues on the Annabelle. No amendments to the soil have been made yet. It's just that one side of the plant that's having troubles. Any new thoughts on that topic? Otherwise, the plant seems happy. Ready to see some flowers!
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I'd love to see how other hydrangeas are growing! I feel like we should have a thread just for pictures. :D

Happy Weekend! And, hooray for rain!
Betsy

luis_pr
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

The pale blues may be happening because the blooms have been out and about for a long time and are now fading, changing to other colors. Hydrangea blooms will do this after a while and transition to several colors before ending in brown. At that point, you can deadhead them or keep them for winter interest in 2014-2015.

The pale – almost yellowing appearance on some of the leaf edges – suggests possible clorosis except that such a problem does not normally affect the leaf veins and does not occur just on the edges. Because the veins look yellow too, consider applying a high nitrogen water soluble or liquid fertilizer that contains chelated iron and manganese as ‘minors’, diluted to half the recommended strength; and make sure that you are not watering too much. Remember not to water the leaves, only the soil early in the mornings.

We too got a good soaking and a possible tornado. Nice in this moisture deprived area. Sorry I do not have a working digital camera. Had to do some work in the house and even the replacement digital camera has disappeared too. Grrrr. MAybe others can share their pics.

valley
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Re: Root rot or too much sun on an Anabelle? Pictures inclu

Hi, You asked my opinion on correcting alkaline soil. While at our lower ranch we have very alkaline soil, the only means I've use: was adding organic mater, by that I refer to spent or fresh manure, sulfur also works but I haven't resorted to that nor have I used raised beds. Alkaline soil, you know, can encase or lock up iron and other neutrients so that plants don't get the benefit of them.

I admire your aggressive interest in the health and well being of your plants. Keep in touch and let us know of their improvement and what you did to take them in that direction. Glad to hear from you.

Richard

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