The Q&A Archives: fungus

Question: my azeala's have a bluish gray fungus on the limbs which seems to be killing the plants. What can I spray them with?

Answer: What you describe sounds like Azalea Leaf Gall. This fungus 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. Lower leaves on plants are usually the most seriously damaged, but under humid conditions and in shaded locations galls may occur at the ends of upper branches. The occurrence and intensity of the disease depends on weather conditions and on the source of the causal fungus. Spores produced in the whitish mold on the surface of galls in late spring to early summer are blown and washed to leaf and flower buds where they cause new infections. Galls form the following spring. Cool, wet weather favors dispersal of the spores. The best control is to prune off the affected leaves both to remove the fungus from the area but also to open the plants up to better air circulation. There are no preventative sprays you can use to prevent this in the future. Just keep debris picked up or raked up from beneath the plants and prune off any leaves or flowers that develop the galls.

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