Why are my Rhubarb Leaves
Turning Brown?

... leaves on all my rhubarb plants are turning brown ...

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Question #1:

I have had the most productive rhubarb patch for many years, and have not been introducing any new plants.

It has been very cold this past winter in Western NY, and my leaves on all my plants are browning ... please help as I so love my rhubarb plant and as I said, it has produced lovely rhubarb.

I have used horse manure over the years to  fertilize these plants.

Since it has been a very cold winter, could that be the problem?

How could every plant be showing the browning of the leaves?

I am praying i don't loose the best part of my gardening!

Rhubarb Leaves Turning Brown


First of all, thank you for visiting my website, Rhubarb-Central.com!

I hope you return often.

Sorry to hear about the condition of your rhubarb patch! I live in

Southern Ontario, and we too have had an extremely cold(!) winter.

Perhaps this has had some effect on your rhubarb plants, although they should be able to handle the severe cold.

Without seeing the plants, it is hard to give an totally accurate assessment, but I wonder if you remove the affected leaves, if the new growth of leaves will be healthier. It is possible that the browning leaves are a fungus, and if so, it is better to remove the affected leaves so the condition will not spread.

Here are a couple of pages that deal with pests and diseases which sometimes affect rhubarb plants. Perhaps you can identify the problem of your plants with the description and pictures on these pages.



I would be very interested in how your rhubarb plants fare in the next little while.

If you have time, I would appreciate an update - that would also help me to help other visitors to Rhubarb-Central.


I am so pleased to see that you answered me.

I did remove the leaves that were damaged, very brown and very dried.

The tops of the stalks were rotten, and the last few days with frosty temperatures I covered the plants.

They are now growing well it seems! I so depend on this patch as many folks buy rhubarb pies from me ... the stalks are long and thick, some are better than what they sell for $2.99 lb.in the grocery stores.

I have never had the cold effect my plants before, and I am praying it is the cold and not a fungus. 

I actually stopped at a home 15 miles from here where every year I notice their rhubarb patch flourish, and the man walked me to his garden, much to my surprise his rhubarb was acting the same with brownish spots, and they were just coming up! So, that gave me some confidence it was the cold that had affected our rhubarb.

Thank you again. I am so happy that I found your website, and I am actually going to save your email.

I will try to send pics of my rhubarb patch when it matures ... and of the pies!

Question #2:

I grew up in Canada where our back yard was abundant with Rhubarb.

At my home here in Ann Arbor, I planted 5 Rhubarb plants last year from 2 different and reputable growers. Three crown roots and 2 potted plants.

Right now, the leaves on all the plants look as if they have been burned.

I've never seen this before, have you?

Some of the stalks shriveled up last year. I have 2 more plants to put in the ground right now but am nervous to plant them next to the other ones. Any thoughts? Thank you!


I have had several visitors to my website contact me recently with issues concerning their rhubarb plants looking burned or browning.

I live in Southern Ontario (Canada) and we have had extremely cold winter temperatures this past winter, and I am wondering if this weather has perhaps affected the rhubarb.

Rhubarb can withstand cold temperatures, but perhaps it has been somewhat affected by the severe and unusual cold. (I myself do not, but some people chose to cover their rhubarb to protect it from extreme temperatures).

My rhubarb is hardly up yet, so I cannot assess my own patch right now to see if my rhubarb has the same issue this Spring. 

I would remove the unhealthy looking, brown leaves, and perhaps the new growth of leaves will be free of the problem.

If the problem were a fungus and not extreme cold, removing the affected leaves would also be the route I would take.

If you have not already done so, be sure to visit the following pages on my website which give helpful information about pests and diseases which sometimes affect rhubarb plants:



If you have time, I would really appreciate hearing back from you as to how your rhubarb continued to fare this season - that would help me help other website visitors who contact me regarding concerns about the health of their rhubarb patch!

Pictures are always welcomed as well!


Hello! ... It was as you said! I removed the unhealthy leaves and my plants seem to be doing just fine.

I will check back often with you web site, thank you for sending the address along!

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