Everyone growing hydrangea in their garden would know how appealing these plants and their flowers are. But, due to their constant requirement for moist soil, hydrangea leaf scorch is a possible problem gardener come across when growing these plants.
Leaf scorched hydrangea leaves have brown burnt leaf edges or maybe brown throughout. These leaves have lost all their moisture and are dry and crumble when touched.
Often, High temperatures and lack of water can also contribute to leaf scorch Hydrangea. Adequate watering and shade will help to prevent leaf scorch in your garden, not just hydrangea but other plants too!
Noticing other issues with your hydrangea plants? 10 Reasons Why Hydrangea May be Drooping and Wilting? [With Solutions]
What is Leaf Scorch?
Leaf scorch is a condition that affects plant leaves when conditions become unbearable and the plant cannot maintain optimal health. As a result, the plant’s foliage begins to bear the burden.
Some people suspect leaf scorch results from a fungus or bacterial infestation. This is incorrect! The main cause is environmental situations that are not favorable for the plant.
Leaf scorch can affect any plant, even hydrangea. More so because these plants like moist soil, anything less could be the starting point for leaf scorch in hydrangea.
Signs and Symptoms of Hydrangea Leaf Scorch
Leaf scorch is actually a condition and not a disease. Symptoms arise when one or more factors start affecting the plant. Most of the time it occurs when the plant is not suited to the site it has been planted in.
The most common reasons for leaf scorch in your hydrangea would be hot temperatures, less rainfall, and hot dry winds.
Less obvious causes will be damage to roots, no room for root growth, the soil is too compact, nutrient deficiency, poor drainage, and a build-up of chemicals in the soil.
How to Fix Leaf Scorch in Hydrangea?
Leaf scorch alone is not enough to kill your beautiful hydrangea, a reason, or a combination of reasons that we discussed above, may be the culprit. Take note of these ways to help your plant through leaf scorch.
1. Water Generously Throughout Severely Hot Weather
Look at weather forecasts often to prepare your plants for heat waves. Especially when you are going to experience a bout of hot weather that may last more than just a couple of days.
Give the plants a good slow soaking. Either in the morning before it heats up or in the evening as the sun is going down.
Help your plant retain moisture, by giving them adequate mulch. A layer between 3 to 4 inches of wood chips, leaf waste, grass clippings, or bark will suffice. If the leaf scorch is severe, you will want to take up these steps right away.
NOTE- Avoid overwatering and using the wrong soil for hydrangeas. Wet soil can cause the roots to rot which will affect the whole plant!
Check out if Hydrangeas are poisonous. Read here
2. Proper Use of Fertilizer
Fertilizer at the wrong time could contribute to leaf scorch! Keep lawn and plant fertilizers away from the roots of the hydrangea plants when the soil has dried up and high temperatures are approaching.
Instead, choose a different time to apply fertilizer. Preferably in the springtime after winter. Applying it in winter would leave the plants extremely vulnerable to frost damage. Summer also isn’t the most ideal time to do it.
NOTE- Directions are usually on the back of fertilizer packets. Also, you can contact a nursery for specific requirements of the hydrangea variant you are growing.
3. Prune Away Dead Foliage
When affected by leaf scorch, many leaves may completely have turned brown or show no chance of coming back to a healthy state. However, these leaves may still be drawing energy and resources from the roots of your hydrangea.
To avoid overuse of resources and to give it a better chance of keeping clear of leaf scorch, you have to remove unnecessary resource use.
Prune away dead foliage, and damaged limbs to a minimum to reduce weight and load for the bush and roots to support.
Wondering what else you can do to avoid hydrangea leaf scorch? Here are some tips to help you keep this condition away from your hydrangea plants.
If you are a novel gardener, read about when and how you should prune hydrangea.
4. Other Ways To Help Your Plants
Avoid planting near walls, or other reflective buildings that are in the sun. The sun’s reflection on these solid buildings causes sunburn to the plants.
Consider moving your plant to a different location. If your plant is undergoing sunburn in its current position, it’s best to move it.
Make sure plants that are in a sunny or windy spot have enough water. Excessive evaporation of moisture can leave your hydrangea vulnerable to leaf scorch.
Do not over-fertilize your hydrangea plants as it can damage the plant’s roots. You should save fertilizing for spring when there are minimal chances of extreme heat.
How to Prevent Hydrangea Leaf Scorch?
There are some measures that you can take to ensure leaf scorch won’t happen to your plants, at least not again.
- Take steps to see that there is a regular watering system in place. Erratic watering practices can cause your hydrangea to stress out, and this will affect the plant.
- You can water hydrangea either in the early morning or evening. This is so that the water does not evaporate away by the sun before the plants have had a chance to absorb it.
- Water should not be splashed onto the vegetation. The sun will scorch the water and leaves.
- See where best to place your hydrangea, they do need partial shade. They do not appreciate hot, dry wind. Contrary to popular belief hydrangeas don’t mind being moved as long as the conditions are favorable.
- A sudden change from frost to direct sun can result in leaf scorch. As seasons change, give the plants time to adapt to the new climate.
This condition affects all plants. So, hydrangea leaf scorch should be expected. But, it is knowing how to treat it and avoid it that is important!
Hydrangea leaf scorch is characterized by the browning of leaf margins followed by the whole leaf! Treatment involves making sure your hydrangea has enough water and shade in extremely hot and dry conditions.
Pruning away damaged leaves and not fertilizing them during extreme heat can also help to avoid hydrangea leaf scorch.
You should not cut off burnt leaves so fast! Sometimes there are high chances the leaves can make a recovery. So it is better to wait. But, if you are sure the leaves cannot be salvaged, you can remove them to save resources and make the plant look more appealing.
Yes, you can prevent leaf scorch from affecting your hydrangeas. The key is to maintain soil moisture and prepare your plants for extreme heat and dry spells. Make sure the plants are well watered before harsh heat arrives in your area. Note, that indoor plants will need more care and watering.