New Limelight leaves turning yellow/brown

Asked July 5, 2017, 9:25 AM EDT

I just planted four limelight hydrangeas in May. The leaves on the inside are turning yellow and a few are now brown. The tops of the plants have growth and are starting to get flowers. The plants base have been covered with pine straw. These plants are next to my neighbors sprinkler system. I am not sure if they are getting too much water or not enough water.

Mecosta County Michigan hydrangea

3 Responses

If the plants were just planted in May, then it may be as simple as transplant shock in which case the plants will recover once they have adjusted to the growing conditions. If you want to check how much water the plants are getting from your neighbors sprinkling system, you can place a clean empty tuna can or a rain gauge near the hydrangeas and check how much water is being sprayed on them. Hydrangeas prefer a moist well-drained soil, so you might also check how wet the soil is below the mulch. If it appears soggy or overly moist (check down an inch or two) then you may want to remove the mulch for a short period of time to allow some of the moisture to evaporate. A nice website for information on Hydrangeas is: http://hydrangeashydrangeas.com/

Thank you Mary. Good advice. I will try the tuna can as well as check the moisture. How long can transplant shock take? Will the plants stay yellow for the remaining summer?

How long transplant shock lasts may depend on what is causing it and how quickly the problem can be rectified. Sometimes roots were injured in planting and it can take several weeks to get better established; sometimes it's too much or too little water and once that is sorted out the plant should begin to recover; sometimes environmental stress from weather conditions can stress the plant. Information on transplant shock can be found at: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/bp/bp-31.html The leaves that have already yellowed and browned out will be lost, but if there is new growth and the rest of the plant looks good, it will continue to improve through the summer and should look good next season. If the problem causing the shock is too severe, the plant could be lost, although from your photo and the fact that the plant is growing and flowering, I think you should be OK. Just check out the water concern.