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dying azalea, need help identifying problem

Posted by AzaleaFaerie456 nothern VA (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 14:50

Hello, I live in Virginia where the soil is completely red clay, dispite the harshness of the conditions, I have four azaleas growing in front of my townhouse. One of which just seems to be dying. I have tried pruning the dying branches but it seems to just be dying section by section even faster than before. I will try to upload pictures. The leaves have white deformed spots and strange 'meaty' green and white lumps in a few places, also most of the bark has red discolored parts. I have also found a few little bugs red body with a black head. I am not a very good gardener and we rent the place so my involvement has been minimal but unfortunately so has the landlady's.
I have tried to do some research myself to try to save our pretty azaleas from whatever is afflicting this one. What I have found says that the pests may be afids and that it may have root rot or a twig blight. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: dying azalea, need help identifying problem

This picture has one of the little bugs on the underside of the leaf. I know it's hard to see.

RE: dying azalea, need help identifying problem

I have more pictures, just ask.

RE: dying azalea, need help identifying problem

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 23:53

Your first photo shows azalea leaf gall... common fungal disease in the early spring on azaleas. Leaves of infected plants develop distorted growth. If only a few plants are affected and on each plant just a few stems/leaves, pick and destroy (meaning garbage not compost) galls, it rarely does enough damage to require chemical control. If the infection was extensive, a fungicide might be helpful but must be sprayed before the new foliage buds begin to open during or immediately after my zone my own are past that now.

Your second photo is showing damage from azalea lace bug.

Here is a link that might be useful: Azalea lace bug

RE: dying azalea, need help identifying problem

Thank you for your help, maybe I can begin to really help this poor plant. Also I meant to say that the bugs have a black body and a red head (I had it backwards).
luckily for me it seems that only one out of four is really suffering however is like to treat all of them if it's fungal, just to be safe.

Almost all of the flowers have curled up and turned brown, some of which are still kind of attached for the moment; does this seem like a good time to treat?

RE: dying azalea, need help identifying problem

Removing the leaf galls by hand and disposing of them, as morz8 recommended, is all you need to do at this point in the year - it's too late and probably unnecessary for treatment with a fungicide. Lacebugs are another matter as they can produce several generations over the summer. Safest treatment option is insecticidle soap sprayed thoroughly. This is a contact insecticide, so follow the manufacturer's directions. There are also systemic insecticde sprays and drenches that need to be applied only once. The leaves showing lacebug damage will not recover, so next year treat before or just as new leaves are emerging.

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