Be On The Lookout for leaf scorch on hydrangeas. In the familiar lingo of crime show dramas, I am posting a “BOLO.” To those of you who follow other entertainment, BOLO is an acronym for “Be On The Lookout.” 


No one was more surprised than me to see this condition on newly planted Let’s Dance Sky View® Reblooming Hydrangeas. It appeared in a matter of hours and happened so fast I never even saw any wilting. It caught me completely by surprise. I saw yellowing leaves, irregular dry, brown blotches on leaf tips and margins as well as curling.

Hydrangea Leaf Scorch

Hydrangea Leaf Scorch


Despite getting over an inch of rain each week, some unseasonably  high temperatures (85-90o F) were just too much for these plants to handle. They were planted last fall and as such their root systems are still developing, ergo the difficulty handling water stress. Of course, I immediately watered them to alleviate the problem and then checked the moisture level to be sure it had percolated to the roots.


The second thing I did was set up a temporary irrigation measure using watering cones and beverage bottles. Although I have a soaker hose in this particular bed, only the recently planted residents need this kind of individual attention. The soaker hose is there if we run into a drought condition that would affect all the plants in this bed (not just the divas). Since we are on a well, I am very stingy when it comes to running the hose unnecessarily.

How a watering cone works

How a watering cone works


What is leaf scorch, and how does it happen? Fortunately, Washington State University Extension has a terrific fact sheet HERE.  It is simply a case of the plant not being able to get the water from its roots to the foliage quickly enough. If untreated, it can lead to a weak plant with few flowers, a possible early demise, and all sorts of other ills.

So keep an eye on your plants, especially newly installed specimens. Don’t be like me and wait until the problem develops.



I am up for a GardenComm People’s Choice Horti Award for my book, Success With Hydrangeas, A Gardener’s Guide and need your help to win! Now through 6/15, you can cast your vote to get me over the finish line. You can vote once per each valid email address and voting is open to everyone. Just follow the link below to the ballot and cast your vote. The winners will be announced live on July 1st and with your help, I can win! Thank you in advance.


Thanks for reading.

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