Dead Buds

cynthianovakMarch 26, 2006

Hi All

I have many azaleas with crispie brown buds this year. We had a drought last fall, but I watered regularly and definitely if I saw one droop the whole row got watered. We also had a strange winter. First hard freeze was late, in dearly Dec. and it had been quite warm, mid 80's just before. Then it warmed for about 6 weeks then froze again and then the same pattern for the 3rd time.

I'm assuming that the crispy brown buds on several azaleas both once bloomers and some Encores was do to the hard freeze following very warm temps.

Just in case, is there some disease I should look for that causes this?

thank you

cynthia

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Cynthia, you are probably right about the hard freeze following unusually warm temperatures damaging the buds. Plants which are not adequately hardened off or those exposed to unseasonal warm spells can start bloom early - then are frozen before opening fully.
Drought can also cause the buds not to open.

There is a disease, Bud Blast, that can affect rhododendron and azalea, but it doesn't sound to me like the bud-killing disease is your problem.

"Bud Blast, pychostyanus azaleae, a sap-eating fungus which attacks the buds. The buds turn gray-black and can stay on the plant for two to three years. Close inspection reveals fruiting bodies of the fungus protruding from the buds.

It is not known for sure, but it is believed, that the leafhopper facilitates the spread of this disease. The leafhopper lays over-wintering eggs in the slits of the bud, which allows entrance of the fungus.

The best control is to pick off the buds and destroy them. Spraying with a contact insecticide, beginning in August and continuing into the fall, can control the leafhoppersÂand thus, the disease."

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 11:44AM
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cynthianovak

thank you morz8
You are correct, this doesn't sound like Bud Blast. The buds are brown and crisp. Some manage to put on buds and flowers adjacent to the crisp ones, but I lost a lot of flowers on the most exposed plants, those that bloomed were protected from west winds.

Guess I'll fertilize and hope for a better flush from the encores this year and a better flush for the others in 2007.

When you have a late freeze, do some of the once bloomers bloom later than normal?

thanks again
cynthia

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 10:54PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Yes, cold late winter or early spring temperatures can delay the bloom time until conditions are right for the buds opening.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 11:38PM
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luis_pr

All of my Encore Azaleas had this problem. The Hino Crimson Azaleas nearby were affected but came back fine. In sum, I lost one Encore, one Hino Crimson, one camellia and one hydrangea to the drought of 2005. Interestingly, the HC's that survived were as prolific as ever, producing plenty of flowers. There was one that produced plenty of flowers considering its size shrank down to about five inches in diameter (the rest of the branches dried out and I pruned them).

My solution/action plan was the same as yours: cross out this spring season, feed them some cottonseed meal now and check the soil moisture more often in preparation for the Spring of 2007.

Good luck,
Luis

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 7:35PM
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