Hydrangea: Marginal leaf necrosis

categories: Hydrangea Hydrangea Diseases Ornamentals Shrubs

revision date: 2022-12-02 12:00

Drought damage to hydrangea.
drought damage to H. macrophylla
Photo by: R. Maleike


Browning and dieback of leaf margins and tips can be a symptom of several problems that restrict water flow to the leaves. Drought, excess heat, excess sunlight, overfertilization, and herbicide injury are all possible causes. Damage to the root system or stems may also show as wilting and leaf necrosis due to the inhibition of water uptake and movement. Salt damage may occur on plants growing near sidewalks due to winter use of de-icing products.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Plant in an appropriate location–hydrangeas prefer light shade and moist, well-drained soils.
  • Provide proper watering and nutrition. Excess fertilizer, particularly during hot weather, can result in leaf damage.
  • Improve drainage in soggy soils, or plant on a berm to improve drainage. Overwatering or soggy soils can damage the roots’ ability to take up water.
  • Examine stems for damage from string trimmers, cankers, or other injury.
  • Use a layer of organic mulch over the root zone to retain soil moisture and to moderate soil temperatures.
  • Do not apply herbicides near susceptible ornamentals or when drift is likely to occur. Use special care when applying broadleaf weed killers to turf near ornamental plantings.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended