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Sorry looking Azaleas

Posted by loty NJ (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 6, 12 at 9:52

We bought a house that came with about a dozen of these very sorry looking azaleas. I have no idea how old they are and if anything can be done to revitalize them. Hard prune almost to the ground and hope for the best? Or is it too late?

I actually posted same message in the gallery area by mistake - sorry for that if it's frowned upon here (it's my first post :))



Thanks in advance

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sorry looking Azaleas

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 7, 12 at 15:35

If you were in a colder climate, I'd think not too bad - but, you're winters shouldn't have been harsh enough there to produce that much dieback so I'm going to take a wild guess and say drought....not enough water last year.

We've had a couple of nights in the upper 20's here this week. If you think you are past that in your location, you could begin cutting away anything dry or dead, look for green or live tissue below your cuts. You can even do a scratch test on the bark, scrape a bit with fingernail or edge of pruner blade, look for evidence of life. If these were well established, there is a chance they will produce new growth from down low where some green seems to be appearing, and be fine with a little attention - water during dry spells and a mulch over root zones to keep soil cool, conserve moisture.

It shouldn't take many weeks to know and there would be plenty of time to plant and replace if needed.

RE: Sorry looking Azaleas

My azaleas look just like yours. I don't know if they need water, sun, or Prozac:) In any case, an expert suggested a new location with more sun and coffee grounds around the roots. Apparently they like soil more acidic than most plants. I hope you try something and save them. Good luck!

RE: Sorry looking Azaleas

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 18, 12 at 22:29

Manani, while azaleas like soil high in organic matter - and spent coffee grounds are once source of compost material - the ph of used grounds is near neutral and not particularly acidic. If you use them as a top dressing by putting them around the plant, they can dry to a crust and repel water that azaleas need. I don't know what part of the country you are in to be offering advice for your plants, but an azalea grown in soil that is not acidic enough to meet its needs would look something like this:

Here is a link that might be useful: Chlorosis - pale leaves with dark green veins

RE: Sorry looking Azaleas

Morz8 is right on. Here in PA and probably in NJ also, we have had a very mild winter, but extremely dry. The combination of warm and dry is deadly. They will break dormancy early this year and need water. This is after a year that was very unusual. The first 2 months of last summer was a drought. The third month started monsoon rains and an early heavy snow fall. The fall was fairly normal except for the snow. But the winter was warm and dry. The plants are suffering again like they did last summer.

Evergreen azaleas aren't especially good at keeping their leaves. They are dimorphic, meaning they have spring leaves and summer leaves. The spring leaves unfold at the beginning of the growing season and are dropped in autumn. Summer leaves emerge in early summer and are smaller, thicker, darker, and more leathery than spring leaves. They remain on the plant during the dormant period and drop in the spring, however, summer leaves may persist for several years in warm climates and may drop before spring in cold climates. The latter is called being semievergreen or semipersistent. Due to our summer drought, the summer leaves were not as plentiful.

In any case, wait until after they bloom to prune. This does 2 things: it gives the plant a chance to bloom and it gives you a chance to see how alive the plant is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Evergreen Azaleas

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