Ask a Question forum→New Azalea Leaves Turning Reddish Brown

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Central Florida
JoeGill
May 12, 2020 11:55 AM CST
Planted these Autumn Jewel Encore Azaleas about a month ago. I've been watering nearly every day and sprinkled some food formulated for Azaleas. But some of the leaves continue to turn reddish brown and now some are shriveling and look like they will fall off soon. Obviously the plant is stressed. This has happened to 3 of the 4 that we planted to varying degrees (one not so bad), the other plant looks great.

What is going on and how can I combat it?
Thumb of 2020-05-12/JoeGill/492ac8

Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
Hummingbirder Birds Organic Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover
oneeyeluke
May 14, 2020 1:51 AM CST
Azalea's need acidic soil and if its not acidic they will have problems.The soil for rhododendrons and azaleas should be acid, somewhere between very strong and medium, that is, a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 or 6.0 and anything higher will not work. If you have alkaline soil you will need to dig it out and replace it with a peat moss and pine bark mix to make the soil acidic. If you took a soil sample to the county extension office or sent to the local university for testing you would know if you soil is ok of Azalea's. Looks like you have a pH problem.
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 14, 2020 12:19 PM CST
Have you checked to see if the azalea just needs more water? I have had to start increasing the amount of water this month on my azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias. The roots are in the top 4", an area that gets dried up quickly when it is hot and-or windy. To rule this out, take a picture of the plant, test the soil by inserting a finger into the soil to a depth of 4" and water of the soil feels dry or almost dry. After a week or so, compare the current status of the plant against the picture to see if it stopped browning the leaves or if it continues browning. Remember that Central Florida has sandy soils so you normally need to water much more than usual. About 2-4" of organic mulch helps maintain soil moisture when windy.

If you let the root ball dry out a lot, it may start repelling water even if the root ball area is dry. In that case, to rewet the root ball, you need to extract the plant and dunk it in a pail of water until it stops producing air bubbles. You can also very slowly drip water right on top of the root ball for an hour or so.

PS - My late aunt in Ocala used to water them 1 gallon in Spring but she increased it to 1.5 to 2 in May.
[Last edited by luis_pr - May 14, 2020 1:28 PM (+)]
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