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Need help with pruning azaleas with some sort of disease

Posted by mississippiladybug 7 (My Page) on
Wed, May 21, 08 at 17:40

I am new to gardening and have a problem. We bought an older home in November of 2007 and we have been trying to cut back overgrown bushes and trees. I am having a problem figuring out what to do about some overgrown azaleas. I am not sure what kind they are, but they are just now starting to bloom. The previous owner told me that they bloom in late May to early June and they stay bloomed for a very long time, so they are unlike the typical early spring blooming azaleas that have already lost their blooms. There are probably about 5 or 6 of them along the front wall of the house. I am not sure exactly how many there are because they have all grown together and look like one big, long bush. They are so tall they cover half of the window. They are all covered in leaves except the one on the very end. Half of it looks dead and only has about 1/3 of it covered in leaves, but has some blooms on it too. Another problem with them is that I was told they have spider mites. I am not sure how badly affected with it they are though. I am also not sure how to treat that now because the bushes are so big and there are so many of them. There are also some of the leaves, (or maybe it is the blooms, not sure which), that are turning white, very thick, and curling. I am not sure what this is, but I assume it is some sort of disease. The entire plant isn't covered with these white thick growths though. Out of these 5 huge bushes, there are maybe 10 leaves on each bush affected by it. I want to cut these bushes back to just below the window and I want to get rid of whatever disease or bug is affecting it, but I am not sure when or what to do.

Any advice about my problems will be greatly appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need help with pruning azaleas with some sort of disease

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 20:19

First, it's fine to prune and shape your azaleas so they are not obscuring your window, but be forewarned that these may not be the right plants for that site...they are going to grow again and eventually be back at the same height that is displeasing you now. Prune immediately after bloom so as not to spoil this years display.

Is there something different about the azalea on the end that would cause it to not thrive like the others? More sun, less water?

Spider mites can often be controlled, or reduced in numbers, by frequent blasts from the hose, several days in a row, dislodging them and spoiling their preference for dry conditions. Pruning congested plants would make that easier to achieve.

Last, the swollen, malformed leaves - azalea leaf gall. If you have just the few you describe, hand pick and dispose of them. Heavier infections may respond to a fungicide spray just as leaves begin to unfurl, but it doesn't sound like you have enough of a problem to warrant spraying. This is common following a wet spring, your post will probably be the first of several this season. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Azalea leaf gall

RE: Need help with pruning azaleas with some sort of disease

Thank you Morz8. That was an excellent link.
Taking care of the problem now.

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