azaleas - Knowledgebase Question

Harrisburg, Pe
Question by kayd01
October 5, 2009
My azaleas are all turning brown. At first, I thought it was lace bugs, but not the problem. I believe that they have chlorosis and I need to use garden sulfur to fix the problem. When would be the best time of year to do this? It is the beginning of October where I live and will soon be cold. Should I wait till spring to fix this problem?

Answer from NGA
October 5, 2009


Azaleas grow best in acidic soils and if your soil tends to be alkaline, chlorosis can appear but it doesn't turn leaves brown. Rather, the leaves will be yellowish with bright green veins. So your description doesn't match the symptoms of chlorosis. Garden sulfur will help acidify the soil and you can apply it in the spring. Other problems can turn the leaves brown - fungal diseases, especially - but overwatering can also cause the symptoms. I would wait until spring until new growth appears. At that time you can prune off any winter kill along with any diseased leaves that might still be hanging onto the branches. If you mulch around the plant with peat moss or pine needles and feed your azalea with an acidified fertilizers such as one formulated for Rhododendrons/Azaleas, your plant should produce healthy green foliage. Hope this helps!

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