Azalea leaves turned brown. Please help!

irina75March 13, 2007

My azalea turned completely brown over this winter. There are almost no green leaves left on it. I have no idea what's happening. Is it dying? Can I do anything to save it? I would greatly appreciate any advice.

I have a Rhododendron growing right next to this azalea bush, and it doesn't look as healthy as it used to look. Its leaves have white dots on them and the under side of the leaves has rusty colored spots. Some leaves look like they've been eaten.

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I just wanted to add that I live in Morgantown, WV which is I guess zone 5-6

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 9:26PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Most rhododendron leaves will have chewed edges from weevils. That is not a big problem and most people ignore it.

Whitish specks on the upper surface of leaves and dark spots varnish-like on the bottom are symptoms of Rhododendron Lace Bugs, Stephanitis rhododendri, and Azalea Lace Bugs, Stephanitis pyrioides, small insects with transparent wings on under-surface of leaves.. This insect hatches early in spring as the new foliage begins to mature and its numbers may build to damaging levels with successive generations. Lace bugs reach their peak in late summer and do their worst in sunny, exposed sites. Spiders are important predators of lace bugs and since they shy away from sunny, hot places, plant your azaleas where there is some shade. Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or a systemic insecticide may spare your azaleas the damage if applied in spring when the first hatchlings are noticed. Care must be taken to spray the lower surfaces of the leaves where the lace bugs live. Moving a plant to an area with more shade may alleviate the problem. Lace bugs are more prevalent on certain varieties. The following azalea cultivars have resistance to azalea lace bug: ÂDawn, ÂPink Star, ÂEreka, ÂCavalier, ÂPink Fancy, ÂDram, ÂSeigei, ÂMacrantha, ÂSalmon Pink, ÂElsie Lee, ÂRed Wing, Sunglow and ÂMarilee.Â

Your zone is marginal for some azaleas. The jury is still out on the azalea. Some azaleas are semideciduous in colder areas. It may get a whole new set of leaves this spring and then another set in mid summer. Don't be surprised if it snaps back. But it may look the same a year from now.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Mine turned brown too. I think that the warm weather until Jan. didn't help. I still have the flower buds though. I'd say just watch and hope. I'm in Lancaster,Pa, but grew up in Greene Co. just north of you.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:02PM
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railroadrabbit(7b - Atlanta)

Also, check the soil pH around the azalea. My dirt requires a dose of sulfer periodically to keep the soil pH acid enough. If I forget, the bushes suffer and look sick.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 2:40AM
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