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October 6, 2018
I have not been out in my garden for a bit and I noticed this weekend that a few of
my azaleas are almost white in appearance. Is this some type of mildew? What should
I do about it now?
Your azaleas have one of the most common insect problems that they get—azalea lacebugs.
Lacebugs are small insects with lacelike wings that begin attacking azaleas in May.
If left unchecked, there can be multiple generations of the insects. As they feed
on the under surface of the leaf, they pierce the leaf and suck out the plant sap.
Early feeding shows a few specks of white on the upper leaf surface where the plant
juice has been removed. Heavy feeding allows all the specks to merge together and
appear silvery or gold in appearance. The under surface of the leaf will have black
and brown specks and feel gritty. Adult and immature insects will be feeding side-by-side
but are very tiny and hard to see with the naked eye unless you look closely. It
is too late in the season to use any chemicals to control them, but monitor for damage
next spring. Systemic insecticides work best, but used in May and June. .
September 8, 2018
When is the time to trim azaleas? Mine are several years old and they are getting
too big. I have never cut them back.
Azaleas should be pruned, if needed, in the spring AFTER they bloom. Even the re-blooming
azaleas like Encore and ReBloom that are blooming again now, should only be pruned
in the spring after their spring flowering display has ended. Spring blooming plants
are setting or have set their flower buds for next spring now. Any pruning done after
mid to late June will impact their blooming the following spring.
June 16, 2018
Seven years ago I replanted a leaf in water from my home place of mom’s hydrangea
bush. Then planted in the ground. It has only bloomed one time and yet is a beautiful
healthy looking green bush. Could you tell me what the problem might be?
There are several reasons for lack of blooms on big leaf hydrangeas – Hydrangea macrophylla.
Old-fashioned big leaf hydrangeas bloom on the old wood, which means they set their
flower buds before they go dormant in the fall. If they get pruned in the fall or
early spring, the flower buds are being removed. If the plants get frozen back to
the ground by a cold winter or late freeze, they also lose their flower buds. The
last factor can be lack of sunlight. Hydrangeas do best with full morning sun or
filtered sun, with no direct afternoon sun. Deep shade will give you a green bush
but no flowers.
September 30, 2017
Several years ago you suggested a chemical to put on azaleas to help protect them
against the bronzing leaf color in the summer. I bought some and used it in late
February. My azaleas have been absolutely perfect all year, part of it due probably
to the rain we have had. However, I give a lot of credit to the recommendation you
made. I thought I would plan in advance and buy some now to have on hand, but I can't
remember what it was I used. Can you help?
The bronzing of the foliage on azaleas is typically caused by lacebug feeding. Imidacloprid
is the chemical and the common names are Merit, Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub insecticide,
or Systemic Insect granules. One application of this systemic insecticide applied
in early spring should give you a season free of lacebugs. I only recommend this for
plants that ae commonly attacked. You don't need to treat every plant in your landscape.
This is the same product we use for the scale insects on crape myrtles.
September 23, 2017
Should I feed my Encore azaleas after this late season bloom?
Encore azaleas are repeat-blooming azaleas. They started reblooming in late summer
and should continue through fall. Even though they are blooming and growing now,
treat them as you would a spring only bloomer, and fertilize in the spring after bloom
and do any needed pruning then as well. We would not want to encourage new growth
late in the fall and early winter. Do water if it is dry, but that is all the care they need now.
May 27, 2017
I have some old azaleas that have stems turning dark with small white specks along
the stems. I do not see signs of lace bugs on the underside of leaves. I am feeding
now with a fertilizer with a systemic insecticide. Any suggestions?
It sounds like you have azalea bark scale, a very similar insect to the crape myrtle
bark scale. The black is from the sooty mold which forms on the honeydew given off
by the insects. The white specks are the insects. The fertilizer combined with systemic
insecticide should do the trick.
May 1, 2017
I received a gardenia plant for mother’s day and an azalea. Both are in bloom now,
or are beginning to. Can I plant them outside now, or must they be kept as indoor
The florist variety azaleas are not considered as hardy as the typical nursery stock.
That isn’t to say they won’t live outside, but it needs a more protected spot. Enjoy
both plants indoors while in bloom, and plant outside as they finish blooming. Transplanting
in the midst of blooming may shock them and cause the flowers to abort. Make sure
you plant them in a well-drained location with good morning sunlight and afternoon
May 13, 2017
With two blooming seasons, when should one prune the Encore azaleas? After the spring
bloom or the fall?
Re-blooming azaleas such as Encore and Re-Bloom should be treated like spring only
bloomers when it comes to pruning. If needed, prune as soon after flowering as possible,
but no later than mid-June. Do not prune after their fall display or it will impact
the spring blooms the following year.
February 18, 2017
This summer some of my azaleas showed white specks on black branches. Now it has
spread to other bushes and they don't look too good. One of the small ones lost a
lot of leaves and the mulch underneath it turned black. Last summer I sprayed with
a fungus and insect killer, but it didn't help. I try not to use too many pesticides
because I don’t want to harm the birds that eat insects. Should I remove the bushes?
Without actually seeing them, I would suspect you have an azalea bark scale, which
is similar to the problem we are having on our crape myrtles. The insects attach
themselves to the stems and suck the sap out of the plant giving off a sticky honeydew
substance. Wherever the honeydew is, the stems and leaves turn black from a sooty
mold by-product. I would suggest using a systemic insecticide immediately after flowering
this spring. Imidicloprid (Merit or Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insecticide) can
be mixed with water and poured around the drip line of the shrubs. The plant will
take up the insecticide and move it throughout the plants. There should be no impact
to the bees or birds since the flower period will be over. For a positive id, take
a branch sample to your county extension office. If it is scale, we have found that
one application of the insecticide seems to help for two years or so.
February 4, 2017
We just built a new home and there is no landscaping. I want to use azaleas for foundation
plants. Our home faces west and we have no shade at this time. In researching azaleas/rhododendrons
I have found several varieties that suggest they prefer full sun. However, I've mostly
been told that this is a "no-no" around here and that the afternoon sun will do them
in. What are the differences between rhododendrons and azaleas? Could you suggest
alternate plants if you feel that azaleas will not work for us?
Azaleas are members of the rhododendron family, and closely related, but they are
quite different in ease of care --at least here in Arkansas. We do quite well with
azaleas, but struggle with rhododendrons. Rhododendrons should never be planted in
full sun—they need morning sun and afternoon shade. For full sun, there are some
of the repeat blooming azaleas such as Encore that will take full sun, but they will
need ample water. I would definitely recommend establishing them in the spring, so
they have all spring and summer to get a root system in place before winter. Think
about the rollercoaster ride we had this past winter. In full sun it can make them
more susceptible to winter damage. Some other options for blooming shrubs in full
sun include summer blooming spirea, althea or Rose of Sharon, Ninebark, and two that
would do well in all but the NW part of Arkansas, Indian hawthorn and loropetalum.
November 5, 2016
I have a gift of a blooming azalea bush. It was rootbound in a small pot and I would
like to keep it alive through the winter. I put potting soil in a larger container
and repotted it. Do I need to do anything else to it?
Florist azaleas should be treated as a houseplant for now. Give it really bright
light and let it get slightly dry in between watering this winter. Next spring, plant
it outdoors where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Florist varieties are not
as winter hardy as traditional azaleas, but if they have an established root system,
they often overwinter fine.
July 1, 2016
I have some old large azaleas, and they were gorgeous this spring. But now, something
is attacking their leaves. On the top of the leaf it looks like a silvery fungus,
on the underside of the leaf there are minute reddish specks that will scrape off
with the fingernail. I have used Daconil for fungus and Malathion for insects. I
don’t see a lot of change. Any ideas?
You have the age-old problem of azaleas, called lacebugs. These tiny insects feed
on the underside of the foliage, and suck sap out. Fungicides are pointless, since
it is not a disease. If the azaleas are small, you can use Malathion--the problem
is you must come in contact with the insects, since they are on the underside of the
leaves, and spraying the underside of the leaf on a large bush can be difficult.
If the azaleas are large, try a systemic like Orthene or Bayer Advanced tree and shrub
insecticide. With a systemic insecticide contact isn't needed, since the plant takes
in the chemical and moves it throughout the plant. When the insects feed on leaves
that have been treated they are then controlled. I will tell you that this late in
the season, the damage that is done will not go away, but once control is started,
the symptoms should not get any worse.
May 28, 2016
I have a white waxy growth on my azaleas? It doesn’t seem to affect the plants, much
because we had great blooms this year, but this is the third year we have noticed
these mutated leaves. What should we do?
The deformed waxy leaves are caused by a disease called azalea leaf gall. It looks
worse than it is. When we have a cool, wet spring we see the problem. If it is mild,
and warm, we don’t. Just snap the damaged leaves off and dispose of them—not on the
ground, as they have spores that can infect the plants next year. No sprays are needed.
May 14, 2016
For 10 years I've tried everything I've read on petal blight on azaleas -- various
fungicides, picking off diseased flowers, cleaning out beneath plants and replacing
with clean mulch, etc. Nothing has worked. And I hear more and more people in Conway
(where I live) complaining about petal blight. Is there anything new out there on
Petal blight is typically worse when plants are blooming during warm, rainy or misty
weather. All varieties can be attacked. Infected flowers first exhibit small water-soaked
spots. The spots enlarge rapidly and become very slimy, causing entire petals to
become slimy and limp, usually within 2-3 days after initial infection. Infected blooms
will turn brown quickly and cling longer on the plant after bloom. The disease forms
small black fruiting bodies which are typically mature 6-8 weeks after the disease
hits. Removing any blooms that you see that are affected quickly can help in disease
control. The disease overwinters on spent blooms, and on the mulch under the plants.
Replacing the old much in the fall with a clean layer can help, but if you have been
battling this for 10 years, you may also want to do a preventative spray with a fungicide
containing chlorothalonil (Daconil) prior to bud break and once every 7-10 days during
April 1, 2016
We are getting ready to prune our azaleas once they finish blooming. We try to prune
to keep the plants below our windows. However, new growth comes up sometimes in the
late summer and the bushes get taller than we would like. If we pruned later would
that help? If so, how late could we prune without hurting our blooms?
Weather conditions and too much fertilizer can be the culprit for late sprouts in
azaleas. Well established plants need little to no fertilizer if they are growing
well and blooming annually. If you want to fertilize, do so as soon after bloom as
possible. Too much nitrogen late in the season will result in more foliage growth
and along with ample moisture can encourage too much vegetative growth. When you
do prune, don’t just prune to the height you want them to be—any new growth automatically
makes them too tall. Instead, prune back by a third more to allow for recovery and
do so as soon after flowering as possible. When pruning azaleas, I prefer to make
selective cuts instead of shearing. The plants have a more natural look when pruned
this way versus the meatball look of a sheared shrub. If you do have a few errant
sprouts late in the season, it won’t hurt to cut them out, but any pruning done late
in the summer or fall does reduce blooms the following spring.
March 12, 2016
I have always fertilized my azaleas after blooming in the spring with systemic azalea
fertilizer. I have never seen signs of lace bugs so am wondering if I could just use
plain azalea fertilizer ---not systemic? Also is the one feeding enough?
I think one application of azalea fertilizer is all that established plants need each
year. The time to apply is immediately after bloom. If you do not have insect problems,
there is no need to use a combo fertilizer and systemic insecticide. A stand-alone
fertilizer should be fine. I would use an azalea fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate
or aluminum sulfate to help keep the soil acidic.
March 5, 2016
We planted two new azaleas last year. Yesterday, I noticed that their leaves are
getting spots and some are yellow. I do not want to lose them. What should I do?
If there is any damage to the foliage of a shrub now, it is carry-over from last season.
New plants often go through a bit of a transition while they are getting established
their first year. They are not getting new diseases yet. The yellowing leaves can
simply be leaf shed of the older foliage—on azaleas that often happens in the fall,
but they can shed old leaves at any time. Let the plants bloom this spring and then
assess if they need pruning. If so, then prune them as soon after flowering as possible.
Fertilize after bloom as well. Then monitor the plants for the growing season and
see how they do. If you see new spots, then you can assess the need to spray, but
I bet they will be fine.
January 23, 2016
Some of my azaleas look like someone has clipped off the ends of the branches with
garden shears. I know no one has done that & assume some animal has. What could
be eating on them that would leave what look like clean cuts? Also, what can I do
to thwart them? I sprayed around them today with 'Critter Ridder'.
Sounds like deer to me. They love azaleas. With animal issues, you typically need
a variety of things to try to prevent damage, including repellants, scare devices
and maybe a good dog!
January 9, 2016
Will my azaleas still bloom this spring, since they bloomed in December?
I think a lot depends on what the rest of the winter holds in store for us. While
many spring blooming plants did have some blooms (and still do) they were not in FULL
bloom. There are still branches with flower buds. But many plants have started putting
on new growth and that could get zapped in really cold weather. Time will tell.
Don’t prune or do anything else to the plants. Just wait for spring and hope for
My azaleas have a lot of yellow leaves on them. What is wrong with them and what
do I need to do to them?
Take a close look at your shrubs. If the yellow leaves are primarily towards the base
of the branches then it is simply old leaves shedding. The younger leaves and flower
buds are those closer to the tops of the branches, and they should be healthy and
green. Evergreen shrubs shed old leaves from time to time, and some varieties of
azaleas and gardenias, tend to do a leaf shed all at once. White and light pink varieties
of azaleas have yellow leaves before they fall, while the darker blooming varieties
typically turn a dark reddish color before they shed. Normally we see this happening
earlier in the fall, but the mild weather we had in December has a lot of plants confused.
If that is what you have, don’t worry about it. However if all the leaves are turning
yellow, then we have a problem. Wet feet can be an issue—plants are not growing as
much in cool weather, and don’t use as much water. We also lose less to evaporation
when it is cool and we have had a lot of rain, so check the drainage. Also if the
veins are green and the leaves are yellow it can be an indication that the pH of the
soil is too high. If azaleas don’t have acidic soil conditions they suffer from iron
chlorosis. They can’t pull the right nutrients from the soil in high pH soils. If
you see this symptom, have your soil tested and see what the pH is, and correct it
October 31, 2015
When are the best times to transplant established Azaleas. I want to give three plants
a new home that will face more sun (west) over very little sun now. They are good
plants but I just want to show them off. I did transplant 1 of 4 plants from the same
area (taking a chance) late spring, cool early summer. It survived the summer and
dry fall even though at times it seemed touch and go but now it's prospering.
You have some options. I would not do so as we are heading into winter, since we have
had some winter damage even on well-established azaleas the past two winters. You
can move them at the end of winter, but it could impact their spring blooms. Waiting
until immediately after bloom is another option, but there will be more stress on
the plants since they will be actively growing. As long as you are willing to water
and pamper them a bit, they should be fine with both of the last two options.
October 17, 2015
I need help in caring for my azaleas. When should I water, feed and do they need
sprays? I have both the spring blooming only azaleas and Encores. One seems to be
dying and one is looking a little discolored. Thanks for your help.
Now is not the time to do anything but water your azaleas when we have no rain.
Spring blooming azaleas have set their flower buds and Encores are blooming now.
Azaleas don’t tolerate drought very well. Getting too dry can cause some discoloration
of the leaves. Also, don’t be alarmed if your white or light pink azaleas begin to
shed some yellow leaves—these are the old leaves, and they often yellow before falling.
Gardenias can do the same thing. Darker flowering reds and purples often take on
a purplish leaf color for the winter as well. Monitor your azaleas next spring and
see how they bloom and begin growth. Fertilize once a year after they finish blooming.
Do any needed pruning then as well. The leaf sample you sent did not have any disease
or insect infestation, so no sprays seem to be needed. I don’t recommend preventative
sprays on azaleas unless there have been previous problems.
My daughter in Ward has a small azalea plant that was blooming up until the hard frost.
How could I get a cutting from this plant so I could try and grow one myself? It
is a lovely plant, and being small would work very well at my place.
Azaleas are easy to propagate from cuttings. The best time to propagate is early
summer, when the new growth has had a chance to become a bit stronger, but before
it turns totally woody. However, I have used pieces I was pruning off in late spring,
and they rooted quite nicely too. The easiest way for home gardeners is to create
a greenhouse environment by putting the cuttings in moist sterile potting mix in a
container and covering the whole thing in clear plastic. Put this in a shady spot
in the yard, and they are typically rooted in 3-4 weeks.
Saw your article recently about Tea Scale on Camellias. Could that also be on Encore
Azaleas? We have two Encores’ that have a white scale on many of the branches especially
the ones closet to the ground. There are no flowers on the lower part of the Encores.
There are small flowers on the top area, but not very many. There are not many new
leaves/growth. Any suggestions?
There are numerous types of scale, and some do affect azaleas. The azalea felt scale
is white and can build up enough to cause damage. The systemic insecticides will
work on these just like on the camellia. Although an organic approach such as dormant
oil can be effective, it is hard to get thorough coverage on an evergreen shrub.
Remember, once the scale insects die, they usually don’t fall off, but increased vigor
should be seen on the plants in the spring.
I have several mature azaleas on the north side of my house. They look healthy except
for a few vertical sections where the leaves have turned pale, almost yellow, and
slightly dry to the touch. They were well watered during the dry summer. What do I
need to do?
Many plants have struggled in our horribly hot and dry summer, and azaleas probably
top the list. That being said, we have been on warp speed all growing season with
no winter, an early spring and a hot, dry summer. Many spring flowering plants set
their flower buds early and have gone into fall early. Evergreen shrubs do shed old
leaves from time to time. Some species shed a few all the time—think southern magnolia,
while other can shed all their old leaves all at once. Many azaleas and gardenias
fall into the latter category and shed old leaves en masse. White or light pink flowering
varieties are most dramatic with the old leaves turning a bright yellow before they
fall. Often this occurs in November or December, but I have begun to see it already
this early. Inspect your plants—if the yellow leaves are further down the stem, then
don’t worry. If the yellow leaves extend to the tip of the branch, then something
else is happening. Check drainage, insect damage, etc.
I have a couple of encore azalea plants that I would like to move to different spots
in my flower bed. Is now the time to transplant them or is there a better time? I've
heard that fall is a good time for planting but I didn't know about transplanting.
The azalea bushes have several years’ growth on them so they are not new plants. Also
when is the best time to prune azaleas?
Fall is a great time for planting hardy trees and shrubs, but more tender plants I
prefer to wait until winter weather is over before transplanting or moving. If the
site they are in is really bad for the plant, I would take my chances and move them.
If you just need to relocate them, I would wait until spring. Azaleas can struggle
in a particularly cold winter, and will be hardier with an intact root system. If
we could only look in the crystal ball and know what kind of winter we will have,
it would make life easier. Last year they would have thrived with a fall planting
since we had no winter, but you just never know.
Our azaleas have scale. We cannot get rid of them with regular sprays. I started spraying
in early spring, and no matter what, it got no better. What can we do?
One thing to be aware of is that once you kill scale insects, the dead scale don’t
go away on the leaves they were feeding on, they are simply dead. You should see increased
vigor in the plant and no new signs of scale on other foliage. Scale insects are called
“scale” because they form an outer coating that acts as a shield or protection from
contact insecticides and other predators. Typically we have to use a systemic insecticide
that works from the inside out to control them. Orthene is one that is common, another
is Imidacloprid, commonly called Merit or Bayer Advanced tree and shrub insecticide.
An older formulation is dormant oil. It really doesn’t contain any chemicals, but
it coats the stems and leaves and smothers out the scale. A downside is that you must
get thorough coverage, which is difficult with an evergreen shrub.
Is it safe to scatter mothballs under azaleas? We have a dog that keeps digging in
the bed and I was hoping this would work to keep him out.
I would not use mothballs. I also don't think it would keep the dog out. If he is
digging, lay a sheet of chicken wire under the mulch. He won't like to dig in that,
and it will disappear with the mulch.
My azalea leaves are turning white and gold. When I look at them up close there is
nothing on the top, but the bottom leaves have black specks. What can I do to save
them? They struggled last summer but I finally thought they were coming out of it
and now this! Help.
I think you have a case of lacebugs—the most common insect on azaleas. These insects
normally start feeding in May and don’t get to the level they are now until late July
or August. Unfortunately, just like everything else, they started their season early
and have continued. They begin by feeding on the undersurface of the leaf, sucking
sap out of the foliage. In the beginning, you get a few white specks on the upper
surface of the leaf. As populations build up, the small white specks merge together
and pretty soon the leaf has a white or bronzish appearance. It won’t kill a plant,
but heavy infestations do cut down on the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves which
can impact overall growth and health. Once the damage is done, those leaves will not
re-green, but the new foliage should begin to grow in green and healthy once you control
the insects. Orthene or a similar systemic insecticide should slow them down. If you
have lacebugs every year, using a product containing imidacloprid (Merit or Bayer
Advanced Tree and Shrub insecticide) can help in the early spring. Continue to water
the plants as needed this summer.
I purchased four Judge Soloman Azalea bushes last spring. They were loaded with buds
when I bought them and they had great blooms. This year all of my Azalea bushes are
in full bloom, but I can't find a single bud on the Judge Soloman plants. The plants
look fine, good color. As you know we had a very mild winter. Two plants are on the
west side of my house where other types of Azalea are in full bloom. Two are in a
circle with other Azalea and three large pine trees. Some of the plants get full AM
sun and filtered sun the rest of the day. Two get filtered sun all afternoon. I use
pine needles for mulch but other than that I have not fed them. All other Azaleas
got the same treatment and are fine. Can you give me some advice as to why the Judge
Soloman did not set buds?
Since the Judge Soloman’s were planted new last spring, it is not unusual for them
not to bloom as well the first season. They were busy setting up a root system and
surviving our miserable summer last year. If the same thing happens next spring, we
need to look further. I do think it is unusual that there isn’t a single bud. It is
possible that they bloom a little later, but you should see buds. Care for them this
summer and let’s see what happens next spring.
My home in Colony West faces west and the front beds are empty now that all of the
original azaleas have passed away. They were planted in 1970 and extended along the
60 foot front of the bed. There are four large Pine trees directly centered in the
front and one very large Pine tree at the southern most part of the front of the house.
At the north end of the house is a rather large Holly bush (tree), perhaps standing
10 feet tall. Originally, Holly was placed at each end of the front bed to anchor
the beds and the Azaleas residing along the length of the bed. I need your recommendation
on a plant/tree/shrub selection and your ideas regarding planting, soil addition,
etc. I need something hardy that will last. Also, do you think the plants/shrubs/trees
sold by the big box stores like are very safe? I think a local nursery would be safer
in the long run regarding the viability and health issues of native plants, etc.
You do need a basic grouping of evergreen plants so that you have something that is
green year-round, but adding some deciduous plants can give you great color in the
summer. While your yard faces west, it sounds like the pine trees shade it from intense
sun. If you like azaleas, by all means replace some. There are numerous plants that
you can choose from and diversity is good. I like to have something blooming in every
season. Possibly sasanqua camellias for winter, azaleas and loropetalums for spring
color and Itea and buddleia for summer blooms. Take pictures of your front yard and
do a sketch of your yard on graph paper. Take that to your local nursery and they
can help you plan how many plants you need and can give you other options. You don’t
have to buy everything from a nursery, but if there are specific plants or varieties
you want, independent nurseries usually have better selections.
I have a large landscape azalea on the south side of our home that is about 5 1/2
feet tall. It is about 35 years old and blooms beautifully every year. We lost one
bush next to this one last year and had to cut it down. We have a bird feeder about
25 feet from the bush . The birds eat and then fly into the azalea and leave their
drippings. Is there any way we can protect the azalea other than remove the bird house?
If you feed them, they will come! I don’t really see how you can prevent the birds
from taking shelter in plants near a bird feeder. If you really think this is an issue,
I would suggest moving the feeder to a different part of the yard. You might also
avoid certain types of birdseed. Sunflower seeds can have what is called an allelopathic
reaction to certain plants—that is why you often don’t see a lot of growth directly
under a bird feeder. Allelopathic reactions occur when a plant such as sunflower gives
off a substance via its seeds and roots, which can inhibit the growth of other plants.
I have never known it to kill an azalea bush.
I have an azalea bush that I would like to transplant. Would it be alright to transplant
it now or should I wait until spring?
If we could look in a crystal ball and predict what kind of winter we were going to
have, it would make the decision a whole lot easier. My preference is to wait until
late winter or early spring to get through the bulk of the winter. Azaleas are shallow
rooted plants and would be more winter hardy with an intact root system. If it is
in a poor location that could lead to death if not moved, then go ahead and do so.
If you can wait, then do so. The dormant or transplant season is considered from November
through February, but plant hardiness does need to be considered.
My azaleas are turning yellow. Is this a disease or deficiency of some kind? I have
several varieties and all are turning yellow.
Look around at other yards and you will see you aren’t alone. This is a common problem
every year. Even though the azaleas are evergreen, they shed old leaves annually.
Light pink and white azaleas turn yellow before their leaf shed, while darker flowering
forms usually turn reddish shades. It looks alarming since it is so all encompassing,
but if you look closely, the leaves closest to the tips of the branches and the flower
buds are still intact.
I am enclosing some pictures from my son's yard in North Little Rock. He bought the
house in July. There is a large tree in the yard and closer to the house, right in
front of the porch are large Azaleas. They look like they have been there many years.
Some of them are dying. I am enclosing pictures of the diseased ones. Is there any
way to save them? The last picture is from my house in North Little Rock. My husband
says they are supposed to turn that dark purple. Only a small bit of mine are the
dark purple. The rest of the plants are green. I treat mine with Bayer 12 month tree
and shrub protect and feed when I see lace bugs on them. However I think what my son
has is Rust? And the Bayer does not say it treats Rust. Help.
From the pictures, the azaleas look fairly healthy—especially yours. If you grow dark
pink, red or purple azaleas, they should take on a dark reddish color for the winter.
Some varieties do this more than others, but should turn every year--this is their
natural winter color. Even the plants from your son’s yard look like they still have
ample foliage and flowers on the tip of the branch. I do think there is some lacebug
damage, and the plants look a bit sparse closer down the branch. Allow them to bloom
this spring and then selectively prune the branches to encourage more fullness. When
the pruning is done by an electric hedge trimmer, all the growth begins at the tips
of the branches. Selective pruning lets you cut each branch to a different length,
which should encourage fuller foliage and a fuller flowering plant. The Bayer product
you are using is only for insects, it will not control diseases. I would suggest that
you monitor the new foliage and see if there is damage when it begins to grow. Last
summer was miserable for our plants, and if the house was for sale, chances are, no
one was taking care of the plants, so they may be struggling. If the new growth comes
out with spots or doesn’t begin growing well, take a sample to your local county extension
office for correct diagnosis, before spraying. You could also bring some samples of
the branches to the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show at the Statehouse Convention Center
in LR Feb.25-27. Our plant pathologist Sherrie Smith will be there with her microscope
and can give you her diagnosis. Sherrie will be in our extension garden on the show
floor. You will have to buy a ticket to get in, but there is plenty to see and do.
I have a bunch of Encore azaleas that have bloomed every year since I planted them
2-3 years ago. The problem is they haven’t thrived. I took a cutting to a nursery
and a guy there told me that the leaves were burnt. Is it possible that these azaleas
are planted too close to the white siding of my house that the afternoon sun is being
reflected onto these azaleas and burning them?
Encore azaleas can tolerate more sunlight, but they do like water. Last summer took
its toll on many plants. If they weren’t watered well, they could have been burned.
Winter damage can also cause burned leaves. Wait and see what happens this spring
as they start growing, then assess the damage and prune them then. Make sure they
are mulched and watered, and fertilize them after the first bloom and see how they
Should I fertilize my Encore Azaleas now or wait until spring? They are blooming very
well at the present time.
Even though your Encore azaleas are blooming nicely now, we do NOT want to prune or
fertilize them. Fertilizing them could encourage tender new growth that would not
overwinter well. The only thing you should do now is enjoy the blooms and water when
dry. Fertilize them in the spring after they bloom, and you can apply a second application
about 6-8 weeks after the first one.
Have the wholesale growers all stopped growing the traditional azalea varieties? (I
mean things like Hino, Snow, Coral Bells, Formosa, etc.) All I have seen at local
nurseries and stores the past two years are the "Encore" azaleas which are three times
as expensive as the older varieties.
No, most nurseries still carry a fairly good collection of azalea varieties. They
often push the Encore types in the fall because of their rebloomability in the fall.
In the spring, when the azaleas are all in bloom, you should see a huge selection
of varieties, including the old standbys. Spring is a much better time to plant azaleas
anyway, in case we have cold weather.
HELP, my azaleas are dying! We have well established azaleas, planted in 1995 and
now they are dying. It started last year with one or two and now several are going.
We live in mid-town, Little Rock, and have a sprinkler system. Our house faces South
and the azaleas are across the front and back. The ones in the front started first
and now the ones in the back are affected. We trimmed them back this year and fertilized,
however we have not removed old mulch. The leaves turn yellow and sections of the
plant dies first, then the whole plant. I have not seen any sign of insects. The watering
system is set for 3 times a week at 10 minutes each time. Am I watering too much?
Could there be disease from the old mulch?
To properly identify what is going on, take one of the dying plants or at least a
portion of the stems plus roots to your local county extension office so they can
send it into our disease diagnostic lab. There are several diseases it could be but
we need to know for sure what is causing the problem before you start trying to control
it. I think watering for only 10 minutes three times a week is wetting the soil surface
more than deeply wetting the soil. The goal in watering is to water deeply and infrequently.
Soil type, amount of sunlight, and what you are growing are all factors in frequency
and duration of watering
I hope you can help me with this problem. I have several very old azaleas. They are
over 50 years old and probably eight feet tall. I know they should have been trimmed
long ago, but they have been so beautiful. Now, however, there are a lot of dead looking
limbs underneath the leaves. The green leaves form a canopy over the dead limbs. My
questions are should I trim them and if so, how far back? When should I trim and should
I fertilize? They still bloom well and should bloom sometime in April.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with old azaleas being eight feet tall--if there
is room for them to grow that large and it isn't covering up a window. If you have
ever been to Callaway Gardens in Georgia, they are much larger than that and absolutely
spectacular in bloom, so don't beat yourself up about not having pruned them. If the
plants are having issues now, then pruning this year may be called for. Allow the
plants to finish blooming before you start pruning. Then do selective thinning of
branches, removing any dead wood and then deciding on where new growth needs to go.
Pruning can help get the bushes full again and can direct growth in areas that you
need it. Try not to remove more than one third of the plant, but follow up with azalea
fertilizer and water as needed to aid in recovery.
I've heard that wild violets can take over flower beds. Will they hurt azaleas? I've
also heard that azaleas don't like to be disturbed. Is it ok to pull weeds under the
azaleas or should I just keep them trimmed?
Wild violets are tenacious and can spread quite rapidly. Many folks enjoy the colorful
flowers in the spring, but despise the foliage all summer. I really don’t think violets
will hurt your azaleas that badly, although a few this year will multiply to many
more next year. Violets along with any other weed can compete for water and nutrition,
but they are shallow rooted. That is probably why you heard azaleas don’t like to
be disturbed, their shallow roots make them more susceptible to damage from groundcovers
or other plant competition. Violets have a small underground corm or bulb which aids
in their spread. Pulling them out or hoeing would be better than just trimming and
would not hurt your azaleas.
Last spring we planted a row of Formosa azaleas on the north side of our house. This
spring only half of them bloomed. Can you offer an explanation and a suggestion to
First of all, don’t gauge how well a plant blooms and grows its first season in the
ground. Oftentimes, plants will spend time establishing a root system the first year,
and really kick in and grow the second season on. That is a good thing. Do make sure
the plants are healthy and growing this season. Fertilize now and keep them watered
when dry. The north side of the house is fine for growing azaleas, as long as they
get some sunlight during the day. Azaleas are considered under-story plants—they like
filtered sunlight or morning sun. If some of them are in more shade than the others,
they may not bloom as well.
I live in Northwest Arkansas and would like to plant some shrubs and trees in my new
yard, but I will be leaving soon to spend the summer back up north. Is it ok to plant
now, water well and mulch and still have plants left when I return, or should I wait
until I come back this fall to plant? Since I am gone all summer, I prefer plants
that bloom in the spring or fall. I love azaleas, dogwoods and rhododendrons.
If you plan to leave every summer, then invest in a good sprinkler system with a timer,
and have a friend or neighbor check to make sure it is working. While there are drought
tolerant plants, it is a rare summer that we can go an entire summer season without
supplemental watering. New plants, regardless of their drought hardiness once established,
must have regular watering the first year they are planted. I prefer to plant azaleas
in the spring and early summer, however, no newly planted plant would survive a month
without water in the summer, much less the entire summer, if we have no natural rainfall.
Rhododendrons are best planted in the fall, as are dogwood trees. Fall planting is
preferable for many plants, but don’t plant any of these unless you have an irrigation
system. None of the plants you mentioned are drought tolerant.
I have a pink azalea bush. Usually it is loaded with beautiful blooms every year.
This year, it only had four flowers on it. I have a red azalea right next to it and
it's full of blooms. Wonder why the pink one didn't bloom this year and the red one
did? I've talked to others and they have the same problem.
Last year, many folks did not have a great azalea season, since our winter was extremely
dry. This year, we had more than enough rainfall, but we did get some low temperatures
and some parts of the state experienced some ice and winter precipitation. I have
had several folks tell me their plants look a little peaked. Some varieties of azaleas
are more winter hardy than others, so your pink one may be less so than the red ones.
Check to see if you have flower buds on the plant. Some may have set that simply failed
to open. Allow all your plants to have a chance to bloom, and then prune out any dead
wood or extra growth as needed. Fertilize with an azalea fertilizer and apply new
mulch, making sure you don’t pile the mulch up next to the trunks. Water as needed
this summer and see how they grow. One or two bad years may occur due to weather related
issues, insect attacks or disease. As long as you give it a little tender care this
summer, it should bounce back and return to good blooming again next spring.
I am a novice gardener, and am trying to take care of a yard that is loaded with plants—not
of my planting. What can you tell me about care and culture for the following: abelia,
hydrangea, azaleas, and a yellow rose of Texas? I have them all and don’t know when
to prune, how to prune, and what to fertilize with. Help! M. Smith, Hope
Let’s start alphabetically. Abelia plants are old-fashioned shrubs that bloom pretty
much all summer long, with small white bell shaped blossoms. They require very little
care. If the plants are overgrown, or need pruning, you can still do it now. They
bloom on the new growth. Azaleas have their flower buds set. These popular shrubs
do best in a well drained, well amended site preferably protected from the hot, afternoon
sun. Morning sun or filtered light is best. Prune as needed after bloom, and fertilize
then as well with an azalea fertilizer. They will need supplemental watering throughout
the summer, as will the hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are a little odd, in that they bloom
in the summer, but set flower buds in the fall. If any pruning is needed, it needs
to be done as soon after flowering as possible in the summer. They have multiple canes
instead of a single trunk. Thin out some of the taller, older canes to reduce size.
Fertilize as growth begins this spring, and again lightly after bloom. The yellow
rose of Texas, is Kerria japonica, another old-fashioned spring bloomer. The double-flowered
form is most common and can bloom several times a season. This plant can begin to
spread out in time, sending up suckers which may need to be thinned. Prune as needed
after the first flush of flowers in the spring—again thinning cuts down low, and possible
sucker removal. Other than that, it too needs little care.
I have several very old azaleas that I want to move from one flowerbed to another.
When is the best time to transplant and what is the best way to transplant?
Azaleas have very shallow root systems, compared to many other shrubs. This makes
them somewhat easier to move. You have two options. One is to move them at the end
of this month, getting as large of a root ball as you can manage. You may lose some
of your flowers by doing it before bloom, but it can be done. The other option would
be to move them immediately following flowering. If you need to do any pruning, it
could be done before you move them. Try to match the conditions they are currently
growing in. If you move them after bloom, don’t be surprised if they wilt badly for
a few days. Keep them watered and mulched and they should bounce back as the roots
begin to take hold. No fertilizer in the planting hole, but do try to plant them in
a well drained, well amended soil.
I have four azaleas, three of which have been here twenty years. They have always
had a bountiful bloom until this year. Two of them are blooming, but not as robustly
as usual. The third one has less than a dozen blooms and the leaves are dull. The
new growth appears hearty, but the older leaves are sickly although I can find no
evidence of insects. Suggestions?
You are probably not alone this spring with less than full blooming azaleas. Many
plants were so confused last November/December that they actually were in almost full
bloom then. Because of the early blooms late in the fall last year, some of those
plants are not as full as we would like. We also seemed to have a little winter damage
on some of these plants, which could account for the dull leaves. One other thing
to consider on older plants such as yours, is to check and see if the plants are getting
planted too deep from the addition of yearly mulch. If the leaves are getting smaller,
that can be a problem. Remove some of the older mulch before applying new in the spring.
Let them finish their blooming for this spring, then do a light haircut to encourage
new growth. Follow with an application of azalea fertilizer and see how their new
growth is this summer. Water as needed.
We recently moved into a home where all the shrubs and landscaping had been allowed
to grow without pruning. I have azaleas growing over the top of the house and would
like to know how far back you can prune them without hurting them. They need to be
cut at least 2 feet. Also is it possible to move a 10 year old dogwood and if so when
and how would you do it? I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks
Broadleaf plants, such as azaleas can be pruned by one third or more and still come
back. I would prune as soon after flowering as possible. When pruning, don’t simply
shear them back two feet all the way around—instead, make selective pruning cuts to
certain branches. This will allow the plants to fill back in with a more natural shape
than having all the growth at one level. Fertilize with an azalea fertilizer after
pruning. For the dogwood, it can be moved, but now is not the best time. If you can
hold off until fall, that would be ideal. Get as much of a root ball as you can manage.
If the tree is too large for you to move, you can hire someone with a tree spade.
These make quick work on a larger tree. I still would prefer you do the transplanting
during the dormant season—November through early March.
We have a very unique, 25 years or so old yaupon holly (trimmed and shaped many times)
on a terrace with a row of azaleas. The yaupon has "gone ape" among the azaleas, sending
out seedlings or sprouts at the soil line which are outgrowing the azaleas. If we
can protect the azaleas, can we use Roundup (or your choice) to try to kill them out
without affecting the tree? Would painting full-strength Roundup do any good where
we cannot spray the foliage and cut back to the ground? We hope to not lose the tree
-a conversation piece.
I think your best bet, while not the easiest, is to dig up the sprouts and/or seedlings.
If you knew for sure they were coming up from seeds, then a herbicide might work,
however they could be root suckers which are attached to the mother tree and could
damage it as well. Make a cut beneath the soil line where the plants are coming from
the ground line up, mulch and watch for reappearances. Since it is a standard yaupon,
they can outgrow your azaleas quite easily.
I hope you can shed some light on my problem. I have a 30 foot azalea bed along the
east wall of the garage that has been there for 20 years. It has always done very
well, but last fall I noticed the leaves got bronzy. This spring they flowered, but
were not as good. I have always pruned about every 3 years so this year it was time.
Now they really look dead. I have watered and fertilized. Can you tell from the attached
photo's what the problem is, and what I might do about it.
You had a severe case of lacebug damage on your azaleas. Usually the damage makes
the plants look bad, but rarely does it kill them. I just wonder if possibly the excess
rain and then cold winter, coupled with the stressed plants, made the damage worse.
Did you spray with anything? I would prune them back hard now--take off up to one
third or more and then fertilize. Azaleas are broadleaf plants which have dormant
buds, so even if they look bare, they can recover, but prune ASAP to allow for recovery
time. You can prevent lacebug damage with Imidacloprid (commonly called Merit or Bayer
Advanced Tree & Shrub Insecticide). Let’s see how they bounce back this growing season.
I did not fertilize my azaleas after their blooms faded this spring as I think you
are supposed to. Now with the high temperatures upon us (last week of June) I am wondering
if I should. I pruned them after the blooms faded and they look fine to me, and I
am giving them adequate watering. The plants are Coral Belle variety and they are
about two to three feet tall with about that much spread. They are roughly 12 years
old. I also have another group that I planted this spring which are white Gumpo. They
are little more than the 2-3 gallon pot size that I bought. These will also be 2-3
feet high and spread when mature. These are also looking good and are being well watered.
What do you think, should I fertilize now or skip this year?
One application of fertilizer per year is usually recommended for azaleas, typically
right after pruning or after bloom in the spring. Some recommend multiple doses, but
I think that is overkill, pushing the plants too much. It is not going to grossly
impact your plants if they skip a year of fertilization (especially since yours seem
to be doing quite well), but I also think you could still fertilize now, if you choose
to. The key is to apply the fertilizer at a low rate and make sure the plants are
well watered the day before. Water lightly after fertilizing as well. We don't want
to add fertilizer to drought stricken plants or they can get burned. Water the fertilizer
in after application, and keep up with watering needs. Try to work early in the day
for your sake as well as the plants.
Is it too late to drastically prune azaleas without interfering with their blooming
next spring? Same question about loropetalums.
I prefer to get the pruning done as soon after flowering in the spring as possible
on both plants so they can recover and set plenty of flower buds in late August-September.
June was so miserably hot that it did not encourage a lot of new growth. Usually July
is not a great month for new growth due to heat, humidity and lack of rainfall. It
all depends on the summer. Severe pruning is definitely out of the question, but even
light pruning is discouraged past mid June, especially if it is really hot. If you
can, wait until next spring. If you have to prune do as little as possible and do
so ASAP and keep up with water needs.
The leaves on my azaleas are turning white. I do not know how or what to do to them.
I do not want to lose them. Help!
Check the backs of the leaves. I would bet they have small black or brown specks there
and are rough to the touch. Lacebugs are the culprit. These tiny insects have translucent
lace-like wings and feed on the undersurface of azaleas. As they feed, they suck sap
out of the foliage. The beginning infestations leave a few white specks on the surface,
but repeated feeding gives the overall surface of the leaf a white or silverish appearance.
Left unchecked there are numerous generations each season. Spraying now with a systemic
insecticide such as Orthene can slow them down. If you get the problem every year,
try a preventative treatment of Imidacloprid next spring or early summer. This systemic
insecticide is applied around the drip line of the shrub, absorbed by the plant, and
should give you a season free of the problem. The damage that has been done to your
plants will not go away, but you should not see new damage after spraying.
Is it necessary to cover azaleas with sheets especially when they have buds and are
fixing to bloom and they predict a frost?
I would be surprised if any azaleas were getting ready to bloom now. Flower buds were
set back in late summer to early fall, but while dormant, they should be ok. Temperatures
have dipped lower than we have seen in fifteen years, and depending on the variety
of azalea, there could be some damage to the buds and possibly overall plants, but
we need to wait for spring to assess that damage. Sheets give you two to four degrees
of protection and can be worthwhile when the flowers are showing color and/or open
and a late frost is predicted. I would not cover off and on all winter.
We have a row of encore azaleas---all were growing and doing well until about two
weeks ago. The one on the end started wilting and although we dug it up and put it
in full shade, it died. Now another one is doing the same thing. The ones on either
side are doing well. We see no signs of lacebugs, gall, mold, etc. All are watered
etc the same and rest of them still look healthy. What could be the cause? Is there
anything we can do to prevent losing this one too?
The problems you mention, lacebugs and galls, would not kill an azalea plant. When
you dug the plant up, what did the roots look like? Were they standing in water, were
they healthy and spread out or were they brown and gummy? Azaleas like water, but
can't stand too much. Poorly drained soils can lead to a quick death. Girdling of
the trunk can be an issue. You don't mention how long the plants have been in the
ground. That would be helpful as well. If the plants were planted too deep in the
ground, this can also lead to a quick death. Investigate a bit more.
I think my azaleas are dying. They are all yellow. I have been busy and haven’t been
paying attention to the yard, so I don’t know when this dieback began, but is there
anything I can do to salvage them? They are about six years old and have grown well
This is usually something that happens every year about this time—it is the shedding
of the old leaves. While some varieties shed leaves gradually without the dramatic
leaf color change, other varieties turn bright yellow before the old leaves fall.
Often times it is the white or light pink varieties that are the most dramatic. Look
closely at your plants and I bet you will find the leaves that are yellow are the
older leaves, further back on the stems, while the newer leaves are green, and the
flower buds intact for next spring.
I have 8 encore azaleas in the front flower bed. Seven of them have done well over
the past 5 years but one of them I have had to replace 3 times since every one has
died in that location. I have read how to plant azaleas to make sure that each time
I have planted them correctly. The plant in question is right over where the main
water line goes into my house and was wondering if that might have any affect on the
azalea. I do not see any water each time I have planted a new one. Is there anything
I could do to make that one area acceptable for an azalea and if not what do you suggest
I plant in that location that would go with my other 7 azaleas.
I think you first need to find out what is wrong with the site before you put any
more plants in. There should be no water leaking out of your water line—or that would
be a problem. If you see no water in the planting hole when you pull up the dead plant
that is good, but do test the drainage. Dig a hole the depth you would plant an azalea
there and fill it with water until the water stands. Then time it to see how long
it takes to drain. If there is still standing water after 6 hours, azaleas would struggle.
If you do determine that water is a factor, see if you can redirect water or try raising
the planting level. If water is not a factor, take a soil sample from the area where
the azaleas are thriving and a separate sample from where it is dying--then compare.
I would not plant anything else until a little more investigating is done.
I have an azalea that has the problem of waxy leaves that you wrote about earlier.
The leaves get thick and waxy and malformed. It had no blooms this year. I pruned
it severely and used 13-13-13 fertilizer. New shoots are coming out, but some of the
leaves appear to be getting thick and waxy. I am pulling them off immediately. Can
I expect blooms next year or is this plant a goner?
Azalea leaf gall is a disease that usually looks worse than it actually is. The disease
starts out with a few leaves getting thick and waxy and usually a bright green in
color. Over time they turn whitish with disease spores accumulating. The key is to
prune them off as soon as you see the problem to prevent disease spores from forming.
The spores don’t affect the plants this season, but come back to haunt the plants
the following spring. Now that the temperatures are warming up, the disease should
actually stop. This is a disease that is active during cool, wet weather. It should
not have kept your azaleas from blooming. Fertilize once more in mid June and keep
the plants watered, and hopefully they will set plenty of flower buds. We have had
two seasons where azaleas did not bloom to their normal potential—the winter of 2005
was warm and dry which caused some flowers to abort, and this year the late freeze
damaged many azalea blooms.
My azaleas weren’t their best this spring, but I wrote that off to the weird winter.
Now I have numerous leaves that look like thick growths are taking over. Is this what
caused the flowers to be less showy and is it going to kill my plant? Is there a spray
I should be using?
Azalea leaf gall is beginning to appear after our recent bout with cool, wet weather.
This fungal disease is short-lived and looks much worse than it actually is. It starts
out looking like someone poured candle wax on the leaves. They get quite thick and
fleshy. If left alone, they will turn from light green to white or gray. No sprays
are needed, nor will help. Simply snap off the damaged leaves and dispose of them.
Once the weather warms up the disease will stop. It really doesn’t hurt an established
plant, and is not responsible for less blooms this spring—you were right the first
time—our weird winter weather (dry and warm) did cause some flowers to be aborted.
My azaleas did not bloom this year. Do I need to cut them back to the ground? Do I
need to move them? They are about 15 years old.
Many people have had less than stellar results from their azaleas this spring. Last
summer and this winter were particularly dry. If they got dry this winter, they may
have lost their flower buds. If your plants have done well in the past, I wouldn’t
worry too much -- nor would I move them or severely prune. It was not a kind season
for azaleas -- they like regular moisture. As long as they get some filtered sunlight,
fertilize now and keep them watered and see what happens next year. If the plants
have gotten too large, or are leggy, then prune now if needed, but only prune if there
is a need to.
I need some pruning advice please? I recently bought a house and all the plants are
very overgrown. I am not sure how much to cut them back. For instance, there are two
very large Camellias’ in the front. They are so big that they are covering up half
of the kitchen window. I am not sure how big they are supposed to be but the trunk
or stalk of the plants are tall enough that I will have to cut the majority of leaves
and branches off to get them to a reasonable size. Does that make sense? Do you know
how tall they are supposed to be? Also, I'm not sure how much to cut back my azaleas.
I know I am to wait until they have finished blooming but when it is time; can I cut
them way back too?
Camellias can grow quite large, depending on the variety. It would have been preferable
to have them planted in a location where they could be allowed to grow to their full
capacity, but unfortunately, that isn't the case here. You can prune them back to
bare branches, and they will sprout back, but it will take awhile. It is best if you
can limit pruning to no more than one third of the plants size each season, but an
occasional hard pruning job can be done. Broadleaf plants have dormant buds on the
old wood, which will sprout out after pruning. It won't look pretty for awhile as
it recovers. For your azaleas, prune as soon after flowering as possible. For both
plants, it is best not to shear them but to selectively thin branches to get a more
fully leafed out plant profile.
We will be remodeling our home this summer. I have azaleas planted where the construction
work will be done. Can they be moved? Some, but not all, of the azaleas have been
in their current location for twenty years. Can they, too, be moved? They are healthy
plants, and I would like to keep them. What do I need to do to prepare them for a
I would try to get them lifted and transplanted now before the weather really gets
hot. If you plan to relocate them back after construction, simply build a holding
bed in the shade. Till up the soil, add some compost and basically "heel" them in.
You place the plants close together slightly in the ground and slightly above, then
mulch heavily. Keep well watered. Azaleas have shallow, fibrous root systems, so they
are easy to move, but moving plants during the heat is not ideal. Pay close attention
to water needs all summer. Don't be alarmed if the plants wilt daily for awhile, but
get them moved as soon as you can. Of course, the older the plant, the tougher the
transition, but it is possible with good care that they will do fine. No fertilizer
this season. Replant in a permanent location as soon as it is feasible.
In the middle of a row of about 15 established azaleas in my front yard, one plant
has been slowly dying over the past year or so. The shrub in front of it is dying,
too, and I thought I might need to submit a soil sample from this area and one from
an area where the shrubs are healthy. How do I do this? I have not been able to find
the instructions on the Extension website.
I think you have the right idea. To take a soil test, get a pint of soil from the
areas root zone. Since we are testing a specific site, you don't have to take multiple
samples of soil and mix them together, as we would if testing the entire yard. For
this, test the good area and the bad area, then compare. Take the samples to your
local county extension office. You should have your results back in approximately
two weeks. Also check the physical site characteristics--drainage, rocks, low area,
When is the correct time to move azaleas? I would like to relocate two or three plants.
What causes the azalea plants to have dead branches on them?
While we are in the midst of the dormant period, which is often used as the transplant
season, I would wait until closer to spring to move azaleas. Azaleas will be more
winter hardy with an established root system. Let them survive the bulk of the winter
and move in late February through mid March. If you have early bloomers, you may want
to wait until immediately after bloom to move them. Azaleas are very shallow-rooted
plants and fairly easy to move in-tact. Die back can be caused by several things,
including disease, drought stress and too much mulch. Cut out the damaged wood when
you see it, and make sure you water when dry.
My azaleas have leaves that are turning yellow. It is mainly the bushes in the middle
of a long strip of azaleas. I have Crepe Myrtles and a Dogwood along the same long
bed and they are not showing any stress. I know I should not fertilize them, but what
should I do?
This happens every year. It is particularly evident on the larger flowering white
varieties. It is the old leaf shed. Even though a plant is evergreen it does lose
leaves periodically. With some plants the leaf shed is gradual and you lose leaves
throughout the season. With other plants, it is more dramatic--all the old leaves
shed at once, turning yellow or red in the process. Don't be concerned, there is nothing
you should be doing or have done wrong. As soon as the leaves fall, you won't notice
it any more.
A nursery was telling me something about Encore azaleas - a relatively new type of
azalea that supposedly blooms three times a year (spring, summer and fall). Are there
any weaknesses or oddities that one needs to watch out with these? Any tips for a
I wouldn't say they are three season bloomers. Typically they bloom spring and fall,
with a staggered bloom off and on during the rest of the growing season. They do give
you two seasons of interest, but are often not as full of blooms in the spring, as
the spring-only plants. Their fall bloom is usually fairly reliable. Not all varieties
are hardy in the northern third of the state, but I do think they are a nice addition
to the landscape, and you have some good colors to choose from. They need the same
conditions as other azaleas, well-drained soil, acidic pH and a rich site. Water when
dry and give them at least three to four hours of sunlight a day. Filtered sun or
morning sun is best.
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