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Old 05-07-2011, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Norfolk
885 posts, read 752,683 times
Reputation: 1887

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They were SO beautiful last year. And now they look like a pile of sticks.

I noticed that everyone else's hydrangeas have started to sprout new growth but not mine. (I'm in Norfolk, Virginia.) I broke off a couple branches on the hydrangeas, and they snap off with ease. They're very brittle and dry, and this is true even down to the ground.

How can you tell if the plant is dead or alive? Is it possible the root system is still alive?

I'd be grateful for any advice.

Rose
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
4,014 posts, read 5,373,313 times
Reputation: 2958
They should have leafed out by now- mine have lots of leaves- so sadly they may well be dead. Break a few twigs and see if the inside is white or greenish. If white and dry, they are dead- don't think they'll come back from the roots.
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:42 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,653 posts, read 7,270,066 times
Reputation: 3676
Your hydrangeas should definitely be leafing out by now, anywhere on planet earth where hydrangeas will grow.

And yes, their branches seem brittle and hollow no matter what. If they have no green sprouts of leaves now they're probably dead....

Hydrangeas thrive here in Seattle. They seem to grow best in a lot of shade with constant moisture. I've seen them perform poorly here in 'full sun' (and we get very little sun in Seattle).

They don't like a sunny exposure and they don't like being dried out--ever.

Perhaps your particular planting location is not to their liking, they're a persnickity plant. They either love it or they're dead.

Try planting them in a location with nice shade and constant moisture if you want hydrangeas in particular. In the place where they failed to thrive plant something else.
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:46 AM
Status: "Another one bites the dust..." (set 12 days ago)
 
20,508 posts, read 13,256,112 times
Reputation: 17530
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryT View Post
They were SO beautiful last year. And now they look like a pile of sticks.

I noticed that everyone else's hydrangeas have started to sprout new growth but not mine. (I'm in Norfolk, Virginia.) I broke off a couple branches on the hydrangeas, and they snap off with ease. They're very brittle and dry, and this is true even down to the ground.

How can you tell if the plant is dead or alive? Is it possible the root system is still alive?

I'd be grateful for any advice.

Rose
Sorry to hear that.

Seems like you have some dead hydrangeas.

Lots of good info in this forum on your type of plant, I won't bother repeating. Do a search and you will find the threads.

Good Luck.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
49,633 posts, read 41,818,587 times
Reputation: 21288
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryT View Post
They were SO beautiful last year. And now they look like a pile of sticks.

I noticed that everyone else's hydrangeas have started to sprout new growth but not mine. (I'm in Norfolk, Virginia.) I broke off a couple branches on the hydrangeas, and they snap off with ease. They're very brittle and dry, and this is true even down to the ground.

How can you tell if the plant is dead or alive? Is it possible the root system is still alive?

I'd be grateful for any advice.

Rose
doesn't sound to good. Ours are all green and leafy and have been for a week or so. We shoulc start getting blooms in another couple of weeks. I would break off one of those twigs and see if it is completely dead.

NIta
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:54 PM
 
18,148 posts, read 17,434,592 times
Reputation: 18072
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryT View Post
They were SO beautiful last year. And now they look like a pile of sticks.

I noticed that everyone else's hydrangeas have started to sprout new growth but not mine. (I'm in Norfolk, Virginia.) I broke off a couple branches on the hydrangeas, and they snap off with ease. They're very brittle and dry, and this is true even down to the ground.

How can you tell if the plant is dead or alive? Is it possible the root system is still alive?

I'd be grateful for any advice.

Rose
I'm only a few miles away from you. Pretty sure mine have plenty of leaves right now.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:57 PM
 
Location: Homer Alaska
1,051 posts, read 866,788 times
Reputation: 794
Hydrandeas are also very suseptible to any kind of weedkiller, roundup or the like. Even if you don't use it around them yourself, the drift from a neighbors yard can kill them. I would suspect though that to much sun or not enough water first.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:45 AM
Status: "Another one bites the dust..." (set 12 days ago)
 
20,508 posts, read 13,256,112 times
Reputation: 17530
Quote:
Originally Posted by freezengirl View Post
Hydrandeas are also very suseptible to any kind of weedkiller, roundup or the like. Even if you don't use it around them yourself, the drift from a neighbors yard can kill them. I would suspect though that to much sun or not enough water first.

That is a huge stretch in the realm of possible reasons. Number one for a broad spectrum weed killer to destroy a whole plant such as a hydrangea it would have to be sprayed directly on the plant leaves until fully wet. Drift particles from a neighbors yard would have to be in such concentration that the spraying would most like have to come in quantity from a crop duster. Major FUD.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:46 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA... where the nest is now empty!
12,109 posts, read 13,959,418 times
Reputation: 18447
I am in PA, and mine are barely leafing out now. They seem delayed this year.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:56 PM
 
2,065 posts, read 3,291,402 times
Reputation: 2552
Sheesh I go away a week and all heck breaks out.


To the OP, Rose, I suspect your hydrangeas are toast from all the details you relayed in your first post. With the rush of well meaning but off target answers I'm beginning to think reading comprehension has become a lost art, though. If the twigs can be snapped that easily low down to the ground then they will not come to life anymore.

There are several kinds of hydrangeas but all of them should have shown some life by now. Your zone is most likely not that far from mine and my Endless Summer is already blooming, my neighbor's Oakleaf Hydrangea is also fully leafed out and the house down the road with a hedge of standard old fashioned Hydrangea is not only leafed out but showing a ton of buds.. No matter which variety yours should have been leafing out by now as has been the case with those of your neighbors.

To find out what could have gone wrong here are the most likely reasons for the problem:
1) new plant that did not get its roots deep enough out of the original root ball to support life after winter. If planted by a nursery/landscaper you should be able to get a refund or replacement.

2) insufficient mulch to protect the roots in period of dryness and winter cold (again if planting was done by a professional service and you have a contract it may be covered under a replacement clause). Some of the plants sold by the box stores have one year replacement guarantees as well of you kept a receipt. Make sure the replacement goes into a hole with amended soil and gets a nice deep mulch cover (2-3 inches to within 2 inches of the main trunk of the plant).

3) Over watering into the fall creating a root rot. Any Hydrangea will succumb in its first 2-3 years if killed with kindness.


The last one is fairly common with new gardeners. Most of the hydrangea varieties are fairly water "needy" when establishing them and will wilt quickly, even if water has been applied, if the soil has not been well amended. This applies to sandy as well as clay soils but is more important in sandy soils and hot, dry windy sites. At the end of the summer many newbies will keep applying water at the rate they did in mid summer without realizing bigger roots are absorbing water better and less loss of water is occurring. Often this is exacerbated by the hole that the plant was first put in has become a water logged from lack of proper preparation. The plant will seem to be OK for a while with wet feet but it will loose leaves (hidden in fall by the general leaf loss) and the roots will wither and rot. In the next spring there is nothing that has the ability to come back. Unfortunately gardening is often a knack for knowing when something should get more or less water and it can't always be put into an exact recipe! If the soil was never amended and is quite sandy the plant may never had the wherewithal to store enough energy in its roots over winter to come back in the spring and you get the same result.

Bulldogdad and I don't always see eye to eye, as I am more leery of chemical warfare in the garden. It is probably because I only have my own to keep nice and he has many to care for. However I agree about the quantity of Roundup or similar chemicals "drifting" from a neighbor's garden is the least likely possibility. Many garden plants are quite easily damaged (hydrangeas are not on that list) by several common herbicides and even pesticides and fertilizer but it requires pretty concentrated amounts on the leaf to kill an entire plant like a hydrangea and symptoms would have been quite visible in the fall when the plant still appeared robust. It would take fairly large intentional amounts to do such a complete job. I've seen unintentional "kills" and they are quite obvious yellowing of parts of a plant, and withering of one side of the plant and occurred when something almost immediately next to the plant was sprayed.

Rose I wish I could say it would be alright but from your description I believe the Hydrangea has bit the dust. I'm hoping you can get a replacement and try again. Here are some hydrangea sites with pretty good information on where they thrive and how to care for them as well as the different varieties:

Hydrangeas for the Home Landscape

All About Hydrangeas, Home Page
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