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I have 2 rhododendrons, the same size. The one on the left of the front steps has deep green leaves; the one on the right is a pale green with dark brown discolorations on the tips of several leaves. This plant was moved from the back of the house to the front. Is there anything I can do to improve the color of the leaves and what are the brown spots caused by?


Transplanted Rhododendron A transplanted shrub needs a few years to get established which means the shrub has a fully functioning root system that supports all the growth above ground.

When a shrub is transplanted, 1/3 of the above-ground growth needs to be removed before replanting. A newly transplanted shrub does not have an intact, functioning root system to support the original stems and leaves. If this pruning is not done, the plant gets stressed. That's the reason for the lighter color leaves and the small dead branch on your transplanted Rhodi. Also, the transplanted shrub will not grow in height or width the first few years after transplanting because the plant's energy is being spent on forming roots to help feed the remaining above ground growth. Once the shrub gets established, the above ground growth will resume.

Another important part of the transplanting process is to prune any roots that are ragged or broken from being pulled out of the ground. A clean, sharp cut on the tips of the roots will promote new roots to form more quickly.

If we have another drought this summer the Rhododendrons need to be watered 1" each week to keep soil moist. Rhododendron roots are shallow and near the surface of the soil and dry out very quickly.

The brown leaves you have look like drought or transplant damage. Remove any leaves with brown edges or spots. Good Luck.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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