Diseased hydrangea plants

Asked May 4, 2016, 9:59 AM EDT

I have several hydrangea plants that I have had for over 20 years. In the past 2 years they have been looking poorly. The leaves are very brittle, they are curled, and this year all the new growth is brown on the old stems. There is new growth from the bottom of the plant that is now beginning to look poor also. Could this be anthracnose. It doesn't look like any photos I have seen in books of diseased plants. I also noticed my neighbors plants are developing the same problem. Should I just dig the plants up and start over with new plants. If so would the spores of any disease still be in the soil? How long should I wait before replanting in that area? Thanks you in advance for any help you can give me!

Allegany County Maryland

1 Response

You are not alone, this past spring freeze was deadly to any new growth on hydrangea. Plants came out of dormancy too soon following unseasonable warm temperatures followed by a freeze. New growth was "burnt", including buds and leaves. The plant is not dead and will recover from new growth originating from the base. Cut the stems back to visible new growth and let it recover on its own. This is not an anthracnose problem, they should be fine in 2017.