The Q&A Archives: Dropping leaves on newly purchased Azaleas

Question: I recently purchased 3 three gal Encore Azaleas, which had just finished blooming. I had them watered & waiting for wkend to plant. One of then dropped 1/3rd of it's leaves. Should I take it back to the store? They are planted but it has since dropped a little more.These Azaleas are suppossed to bloom again in the fall. I'd appreciat an explanation.
Thank you,

Maryann Maass

Answer: Azaleas may defoliate in response to transplant shock, or to either too much or too little water, or to an insect or disease problem. Based on your description I am not certain if the problem would be possibly related to underwatering or overwatering since you had to hold them for a few days, or possibly transplant shock. The soil should be organic and humusy, acidic, and evnely moist yet well drained. It should be kept damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet/saturated and not dried out. They should be mulched with two to three inches of organic mulch placed in a flat layer over the root area. This will help keep the soil evenly moist. Planting them too deeply or planting them into a clay based soil can also cause root problems resulting in foliage drop. Overfertilizing can also cause foliage problems. It is difficult to diagnose this type of problem long distance, so you might also want to consult with your Rutgers county extension. You should also consult directly with the retailer where you purchased them if they are under warranty.

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