Dying rhododendron

Asked April 6, 2018, 4:40 PM EDT

Something appears to be eating the leaves of my dwarf rhododendron. It is almost all brown now. What is this and what should I do? Is there any hope for my rhody?

Multnomah County Oregon horticulture

1 Response

Thank you for your question about your rhododendron. It appears to have several problems, the most obvious of which is the leaf notching, probably caused by a root weevil or caterpillar last year. But the number of dead leaves and stems would indicate that something else is going on, including dieback, all described in this Extension article. The plant probably hasn't been helped by placing the soaker hose over the leaves, rather than on the soil, since water on leaves makes plants vulnerable to fungal growths that can spread and kill the plant. The dead branches won't return, and the plant will probably continue to decline. I would suggest you remove it and replace it with a plant appropriate for the space. You can find some replacement ideas here. Good luck!