The Q&A Archives: Dying Azaleas

Question: Last spring I transplanted 6 azaleas from my neighbor's yard to mine. They are planted in a straight line and are dying 1 by 1 from north to south. The remaining 3 are blooming, but don't look well. Could this be because they are just downhill from a calamondon tree we removed last year? Have the remaining roots caused the soil to be too acidic (I thought azaleas like acidic soil)?

Answer: Azaleas do like acidic soils so you can rule that out, but if they are dying one by one, I would suspect a root problem, caused by seasonally drought or excessively wet soils, compacted soil and low organic matter content, and possibly root rots. Often water quality can be a factor. High sodium, high salt content, and high chlorine can all stress plants resulting in symptoms such as you describe. Have your soil tested and if pH is a problem, begin making adjustments using powdered sulfur at the rate recommended on the test report. Continue feeding plants with an acidic fertilizer. Keep plants well mulched and water enough to avoid drought conditions. Hope they pull through for you!

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