Strange Growth on Azalea Leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Henderson, TN
Question by MsSuzyH
May 23, 2000
I have beautiful azaleas that have been established for several years. Because of the dry summer last year I almost lost a couple of them, but with lots of water and patience they made it. This spring the foliage was a little pale and they had very few blooms. I fertilized them and they are now a beautiful green but have developed ugly wart-like growths on the leaves. Can you please give me some advice and tell me if I am in danger of losing my beautiful azaleas?


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Answer from NGA
May 23, 2000

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You're describing a fungal disease called azalea leaf gall. Eventually the swollen leaves will develop a powdery white coating. These are the maturing fungal spores, so to prevent spread of the disease, prune off the affected leaves now and get them out of the garden. Prune your plants to increase air circulation and pinch or prune off any suspect leaves. Some azaleas are prone to leaf gall and others seem to resist the problem. Plants under stress (which is how you describe yours) are more susceptible to disease problems. I expect that once your azaleas have regained their health, they'll be more resistant to fungal diseases.

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