Fertilizer burn on azaleas?

gardening_in_potsJune 17, 2008

I have 10 azaleas (don't know variety) in two long balcony planters, all 10 treated the same way. Last month I fertilized them with a 8-6-7 mix which is supposedly for azaleas and gardenias and within a couple of days the 5 azaleas in one planter all had brown leaves which dried up and fell off. I thought maybe I'd watered incorrectly and it is very hot here and they get full afternoon sun (morning shade), but as they began to get new leaves, the new leaves also turn brown and die before they're even grown out. Is this fertilizer burn? If so, how do I correct the soil now? The fertilizer says it must be applied every two weeks throughout the growing season, so I thought by now it would've run through with the watering, but there's been a steady decline and a couple of the plants are nearly dead. There is no sign of any kind of infestation-- no eggs, webs, stickiness, etc., and the other 5 azaleas are not affected. Can somebody help me save these azaleas?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

It's easier to burn plants with fertilizer in warm weather, particularly if they are in containers. The way to flush it from the soil is to fill the pot/planter to the brim with water several times over until water is running freely out of the drainage holes...not that flooding the containers is going to help the damage already showing. (Periodically flooding containers is a good idea anyway, to flush out salts that build up in the potting medium, once a month for areas with alkaline or high mineral content water, every three months where water quality is better)

Have you checked to see if one planter may be more dry than the other?

Water soluble liquid forms of fertilizer may work better for you with less chance of burning than granular types - I don't mix the liquid types to the strength recommended on the label and rarely use more than half strength. Remember, fertilizer companies are in the business of selling product - the more product, the more profit.

The normal recommendation for fertilizing container grown plants (which unlike plants in the ground, are dependent on you for nutrition) is once just before bloom, and once a month for three months thereafter.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:44PM
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