Yellow Leaves On Azealas And Camellias - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Arlene adamson
Bakersfield, CA
Question by leinieadamso
December 6, 1999
I have an azeala shrub and a camellia bush growing right next to each other. Both of their leaves are turning yellow. The yellowing is scattered throughout the shrubs, but it is affecting a majority of the leaves. I am going to get my soil tested for acid level, but I am wondering if you have any other suggestions. The camellia bush is planted under the overhang of the eaves up against the house. The azeala tree is planted right in front of the camellia. The limbs are growing into each other's shrubbery. Is it possible that they could be to close to each other and not getting enough nutrients? If I should transplant them, when should I do it? We are so far having a warm winter, but I expect the frost to hit soon. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
December 6, 1999


I think a soil test is in order - both azalea and camellia prefer soils on the acid side. If the plants are crowded they may be competing for nutrients, and if they're growing under an eaves where natural rainfall is diverted, they may not be getting enough moisture. It's natural for leaves to yellow and fall at this time of year, even with evergreen plants. (The older leaves are shed after 2-3 years to make room for new spring growth.)

If you decide to prune or transplant, do so in the spring, after the bloom period is over. Otherwise you'll sacrifice next spring's bloom. If the soil test indicates the pH is too high, amend the soil with peatmoss prior to transplanting.

Providing elbow room and rich, well-draining soil, and adequate moisture during the growing season will help your plants regain their health.

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