Annabelle Hydrangea dying back each year

Asked August 9, 2018, 4:55 PM EDT

We have three 5 year old Annabelle Hydrangeas. Two of them are doing great but one of them seems healthy each year and sends out good growth and blooms, yet it then dies back afterwards. Last year, we disrupted the main root crown by digging out a large weed tree that was growing out of the middle of the plant. Could that have damaged the roots enough that this will continue happening? Is there anything we can do to repair the damage or just plant a new one on that spot?

Dakota County Minnesota

2 Responses

I would guess the problem is the soil in that spot. The leaf shows chlorosis which indicates inability to take up specific nutrients. It also can be caused by poor drainage. It is possible all those rocks are restricting the amount of oxygen and nutrients available. I would recommend you have a soil test done in that area and check the roots of the plant you are removing to see if they are firm and white or black/brown and soggy. If so, they are rotting from lack of drainage. Here is a link to information on chlorosis the Soil Testing Laboratory:

Thank you so much for this suggestion. I'm wondering though why the other 2 planted in the same location and soil are doing just fine? Only the one that we dug up last year has this problem. I heard someone from your extension service on the radio say that hydrangeas can't be divided which made me think that we damaged the roots. They are also planted on the top of a hill which gets lots of afternoon sun - so I will check but think that the soil is most likely not soggy. Thanks again for all the information.