The first 2 pics are of my wonderful oakleaf hydrangea last April, and then in mid-June.
I've trained this long-limbed beauty up some tall stakes. It shows the plant better, allows for more air-flow in that corner of the bed, and makes it easier to give it an annaul cup of Hollytone around the base every spring.
It's been just glorious for 5-6 years.
But something has gone horribly wrong with it.
Sure it was a long winter. But it's seen snow, wind, ice, sub-freezing temps before.
It's seen drought.
It's seen abundant rain (remember 2011?? 60" of the stuff!)
It gets good light and winter protection.
But this year --
It started budding out in April per usual, then when the leaves were only 3-4" long, growth ceased
The leaves hang, dangling like earrings. There is no firmness to them.
I looked up armillaria root rot, but I do not see any signs such as amber mushrooms in the yard, not any tendrils/shoestrings on the roots near the base of the stem (with is bare and woody, showing no bark).
Can anyone help me identify the problem/disease? I see no gnaw marks on the base of the plants.
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
Click pics to enlarge for more detail.
========== Follow up - the lack of bark on the main trunk was the culprit. The shrub died. I dug it up and will replace with another oak leaf hydrangea.