The Q&A Archives: Califlower on my Azeala's

Question: I have something resembling tiny heads of califlower growing on my azelas- What is this & how do I treat it? Thanks

Answer: That's a good description! Actually, I think what you are seeing is azaleas leaf gall, a fungal disease that causes leaves and flowers to become swollen, curled, waxy and fleshy. The swollen plant tissues or "galls" are made up of abnormal plant tissue. Infected leaf tissue is usually pale green in color during the early stages of the disease; infected flowers are usually pinkish. Later in the season, a white spore layer covers the infected plant parts. Galls eventually turn brown and harden as the season progresses.

Azalea leaf gall occurs most often when the spring weather is cool and wet. Spores produced in the whitish mold on the surface of galls in late spring to early summer can be blown and washed to healthy leaf and flower buds where they cause new infections. Galls form the following spring.

The disease is easily controlled by hand picking the galls and tossing them in the garbage. To prevent new infections, it is important to pick the galls before the white spore layer appears. Best wishes with your azaleas.

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