What's Wrong With My Azalea? - Knowledgebase Question

Lincoln, MO
Avatar for sherrylutjen
Question by sherrylutjen
July 3, 2000
This spring I planted 2 azaleas. They are planted fairly close to foundation of the house. They both were beautiful up until lately. They bloomed really nice this spring and
had seemed to be growing fine. I had used Miracle-gro for azaleas as directed on the box and had watered them deeply as needed. We have recently received large amounts of rain fall though. Anyway, one of the azaleas bottom leaves started turning yellow and dropping off. Now the middle of the plant seems to be dying off. There is a little new growth at the bottom.I haven't checked the branches to see if there is any green on the inside. If this is some disease is there anything I can do to save it?

Answer from NGA
July 3, 2000
It's not unusual for newly transplanted shrubs to react to the stress of transplanting by losing some leaves. If your plants are evergreen azaleas, they may be dropping some of the oldest leaves (which is natural, as older leaves are replaced every 2-3 years). It's also possible that the plants are receiving more or less direct sunshine than they received at the nursery. There are both shade-loving and sun-loving azaleas, so make sure yours are getting the exposure they require. Azaleas prefer acidic soil and the soil next to the foundation of your house may be too alkaline (concrete can leach). Test your soil to be sure the pH level is 6.0 or below. Finally, scrape the bark back to see if there's live tissue beneath. If not, prune away the dead stems and branches. Pruning should encourage new growth. Continue to water your plants once each week, soaking them deeply enough to wet the entire rootmass.

Hope your azaleas recover soon!

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