Rhodie dying

Asked August 19, 2014, 1:54 PM EDT

Hi,
I live in Midland and have a very old, established, dying Rhodie. It starts with small brown spots that spread until the leaf is dead. I started after we removed a very large yew next to the plant. I've tried fungicides and they seem to have a short-term benefit.
Is there anywhere I can send a leaf or picture for diagnosis?
-Thanks, Brian Aurand

Midland County Michigan

3 Responses

You can go to: www.pestid.msu.edu and download forms for the MSU Diagnostic Clinic. You will fill out the forms, mail a sample and a check to them and they will email you. Be sure to give this history on the Rhododendron.

But if the Rhododendron was close to the removed yew, you could have done considerable root damage to the Rhododendron at the time the yew was taken out. It also might be that the Rhododendron is now receiving more sun and the leaves have not adapted to the increase in full sun.

Thanks Gretchen. I've sent a sample in for diagnosis as you suggested with the following note:

I live in Midland and have a very old, established, dying Rhododendron. It starts with small brown spots that spread until the leaf is dead. It’s gone from a very large health shrub to a barely-live tiny shrub.

It seems to have started after we removed a very large yew next to the shrub. The yew was cut down but the roots were left in tacked. That was about 5 years ago and the shrub has been in steady decline since. I've tried fungicides and they seem to have a short-term benefit. I’ve tried fertilizers to no noticeable effect.

Please note that I have another Rhododendron – different cultivator – next to this one that is thriving. I also have two newer Rhododendrons – about 3 seasons – that are slowly dying, I think due to the clay soil.

Thanks in advance for any advice you have to offer to save this beautiful Rhododendron.

I hope everything works out well. Good luck.