Tradition Azaleas turned brown

cfoodfest(z6 CT)May 2, 2006

Hi,

I planted 8 Tradition Azaleas in my front yard last year - three in one location and 5 in another area of the front yard. Along with these I planted a bunch of other azaleas/rhodies/mountain laurels, sandcherrys, and lilies. They all did well throughout the summer/fall. I kept them watered all year and they all appeared healthy/green/growing. Then in the late fall/early winter, all 8 of the Tradition azaleas turned brown. The other types of azaleas, the rhodies and the mountain laurels stayed green and are growing well this spring. However the Tradition Azaleas are still brown and while I can see some green leaves sprouting out (maybe 5-6 per plant) and some buds forming (maybe 1-2 per plant), they mostly appear to be not growing at all. I keep thinking maybe I'm being impatient and they will green up, but everything else is growing/green now and so I suspect the Tradition azaleas may be dead.

Any ideas? Should they ever turn completely brown or does that mean they died over the winter? If they are dead, what would have caused only the 8 Tradition azaleas to die off while everything else did fine over the winter and appear to be doing fine this spring?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Paul

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Tradition Azaleas are "evergreen azaleas" meaning they get two sets of leaves, one in spring and one in mid summer. They need shade. They get lace bug when planted in full sun. Checking undersides of discolored leaves can identify these tiny insects. If you don't see the actual insect, you will see the "dirt" that it leaves behind. This may be what killed last years leaves. There are insecticides for lace bug, but the best solution is to move them to part shade. Give them until mid June to see what sprouts and so you can see what you have left. If you need to move them, they should be easy to move once they get their strength back.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 2:49PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Another thought, if these plants were from the same vendor, did you loosen the rootballs well when you installed them in your garden? I ask because the timing would be about right for them to exhaust the nutrients in the potting medium; if the roots are still encircling each other instead of establishing out into the surrounding soil, they could be commiting plant suicide and choking themselves. (Or be totally dried out, with water only moistening surrounding soil and not actual rootball)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 5:49PM
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EGO45(6bCT)

Huh, Tradition...
Something happened to my Traditions this winter.
They were not a babies, been in a ground in a same location for 3 years and everything was fine untill this spring.
One is perfectly healthy, one is calmost completely brown except 4-5" at the bottom and third one is the most puzzling, one of the main branches inside the shrub is completely brown while all other outer branches are green.
Nevertheless, despite having brown leaves branches on both affected Traditions are well alive and green inside.
I'm not touching them and see what early June (their bloom time for me) brings.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 7:23PM
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cfoodfest(z6 CT)

Thanks for the suggestions. I wouldn't say that my azaleas are in full sun b/c I do have quite a few trees in the yard so the sun isn't beating down on the yard all day. However, the three azaleas that are in the worst shape are in the "sunniest" part of the yard while the other five are in a more shaded area and have more signs of life than the other three so it does seem to fit rhodyman's description.

It's going to be raining here for a couple of days so I probably won't be able to check for lacebugs right away, but I will definitely check.

Also, I didn't realize they don't bloom until June so I will definitely give them some more time to see how they do over the next month or two. For some reason I thought they would bloom sooner so I was getting worried that they weren't doing anything.

As for the rootballs, they weren't rootbound when I planted them. If they don't recover in the next month or two and I don't see any sign of lacebugs I'll dig one up and check to see if the rootball is still intact and dry. If it is, it may be too late to save, but I'll certainly try.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
Paul

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:30AM
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EGO45(6bCT)

Huh, Tradition...
Something happened to my Traditions this winter.
They were not a babies, been in a ground in a same location for 3 years and everything was fine untill this spring.
One is perfectly healthy, one is calmost completely brown except 4-5" at the bottom and third one is the most puzzling, one of the main branches inside the shrub is completely brown while all other outer branches are green.
Nevertheless, despite having brown leaves branches on both affected Traditions are well alive and green inside.
I'm not touching them and see what early June (their bloom time for me) brings.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 12:30AM
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