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Rhododendrons turning black

Rhododendrons turning black
Posted by Sarah from Connecticut on 2009-05-31 10:39:00

Hello! I am new to gardending and recently moved out of NYC into a home with very nice mature shrubs and beautiful perennials, providing me with the opportunity to try out my (green)green thumb. However I have discovered some pre-existing challenges. I noticed that almost all of the limbs of one of our rhododendrons is black, looking almost burnt, and many of the leaves also look sooty. I read that this is from an infestation - scale or something, I forget. I recently found little white sacks/larvae on many branches. I have sprayed them with Late Summer Oil but the shrub itself so large that it is nearly impossible to cover the whole thing, especially the inner and lower branches. There were a few flower buds which bloomed but not many for such a large shrub. I have another large one that is far enough away that they don't touch and while it is not black, it did not have many flower buds either. In contrast, we have two in the backyard that are thriving and covered in blooms. There is also an andromeda shrub (if memory serves - I forget if that is the correct name) next to the very sick Rhodo and it too is blackened. This was a long winded post to ask what should I do???? I have a crawling baby and am not considering chemical treatment. Should I cut it way down, try to manage with the oil, and see if I can get new healthy growth? or is all hope lost? Why does the other one have few flowers as well? Please help educate this newbie!! Thank you!
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