Rhododendron: Salt injury

categories: Ornamentals Rhododendron Rhododendron Diseases Shrubs

revision date: 2022-12-05 12:00

Leaf tip necrosis from salt damage.
Leaf tip necrosis from salt damage
Photo by: R.S. Byther


Salt injury to rhododendrons is typically a result of culture or environment. Excessive salt (mineral) levels in the soil or irrigation water, excessive use of chemical fertilizers, or lack of water can be at fault. Edges of older leaves “burn” or become brown and dry and the plant may lose its healthy green color.

Management Options

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

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Provide adequate irrigation.
  • Mulch around plants to prevent evaporation that can concentrate minerals in the root zone.
  • Improve drainage with addition of organic matter or by using raised beds.
  • Leach away excess salts by occasional heavy irrigation.
  • Decrease use of inorganic fertilizers.
  • Water potted plants from top only, and discard water that drains through.
  • Have suspect water supplies tested to determine salt content.

Chemical Management

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

  • None recommended