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Viburnum Red Leaves

Posted by MFIX BUF, NY z6 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 12:45

Quick question: My doublefile viburnum is starting to turn reddish brown on its leaves, and I was wondering why. It is in a full sun location, but this is its first full season, it was planted last fall. Anyone know why this may be happening?

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RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 15:42

When I see these doing this here they are often in locations that look like they might be too dry for them. Another thing I've noticed is that when a 'Mariesii' I had here for years slowed down and got pale it was helped by fertilization - many garden shrubs like a more fertile soil than may be usual over sometimes extensive areas.

RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

I agree with the heat stress prognosis. It usually results from a root system that isn't yet extensive enough to keep up with transpiration during hot/humid weather.

Siting this species with some afternoon shade pays all kinds of dividends - like avoiding the premature fall coloration and the dog-eared look during the Dog Days of Summer.

Otherwise, you have a fine plant that should only reward you more with age.

RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

  • Posted by MFIX none (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 11:25

My immediate reaction was that of heat stress, but we have had a large amount of rainfall this year and I was concerned that some kind of fungus could be present. Leaves are not dying or falling off as yet, so this may not be true. In its current site, the sun hits this plant around 1-130 pm, until just before sunset, so it certainly can be a hot location. I am hoping that just like my rhodo that is in full sun, that it establishes and tolerates this, because I don't have a lot of shade around here, since it is a newly developed area (we have planted 4 trees the last two seasons, so someone down the line will have more options!). My rhodo is southeast facing and gets clobbered by sun, but has never gotten scorched and flowers profusely in late May. My viburnum flowered nicely in the spring but didn't look as nice because after a large snowfall some rabbits, helped by almost two feet of snow, gnawed a lot off. What fertilizer would you recommend? I hit the plant with some fish emulsion a few weeks ago when I was spraying my beds, it was a 2-5-1.

RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

I have heard it's not wise to fertilize a plant that is currently under stress. It's getting a lot of hot intense sun which this plant is not well suited for imho. More importantly, under good growing conditions, a Vib. plicatum var. tomentosum, if that is what this is, can grow to 8' wide x 12' wide, (unless this is a dwarf cultivar) and will overwhelm this deck (?) next to it. If it's pruned to fit the location, it's beautiful natural layered habit will never be realized. Better for property line placement & screening. I would move it to a better location this fall after leaf drop.
At any rate it takes 2-3 years for a shrub to settle in well.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

  • Posted by MFIX none (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 10:22

I have thought about the proximity to the deck, but in order to give some interest to this empty area, we wanted to plant there, to hopefully cover the area and give interest from the street as well as sitting on the deck. I could very well move it a few feet forward and still achieve the same effect. I don't want to prune very much, if at all. The fertilizer was applied before much of the recent reddening/browning occurred.

RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

what i see.. is a plant.. IN MID TO LATE AUGUST ...

which is the definition of heat stress time in the northern hemisphere ...

i dont understand.. all the peeps... that think... that any given plant.. must be prime.. thru the entire growing season ... so what if it has a color change ...

IMHO .. these is nothing wrong with that plant.. that another year of establishment wont help.. and it needs no fert.. no hocus pocus.. and no remedy.. other than maybe a good extra drink ...

crikey.. its a viburnum ... look up bulletproof in the dictionary... there will probably be a picture of a V ... but it wont be a pic of one in its first full season...

the plant is NOT fully established ... and nothing is going to solve that.. but another year in the ground .....


RE: Viburnum Red Leaves

I do fully expect mid to late summer stress, to be sure. I was only concerned because of the amount of red and brown leaves, not that they were in fact present. I currently have newly planted magnolia, heptacodium and Japanese maple, all exhibiting stress also, and our ten year old lilac as well. Being new to viburnums, I merely needed some reassurance, and it sounds to me like everything should be fine. A lot of rain this week will undoubtedly help too.

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