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Rhodies/Azaleas and Foliar Nematodes

Posted by ejr2005 Eastern MA (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 12, 12 at 23:00

Has anyone had problems with foliar nematodes in their rhododendrons or azaleas?

I have them in my gardens and have found them affecting hostas, brunneras, and a toad lily. This year I took drastic steps - checked all my plants carefully for nems, tossed ones that had them along with the loose soil/mulch around them, and took out/potted up almost all plants within 3-4 feet of the nem infested plants (per the Am Hosta Society advice). I then poured boiling water in those areas.

I had several smaller azaleas and rhododendrons in those adjacent areas, so they are now in pots. So far I haven't detected and nems in them. From reading the literature I know they can infect azaleas. I haven't seen any information on large leaf rhodies though.

I plan to do another round of boiling water later in the fall (early November?) so I'll probably keep the rhodies/azaleas out of the ground at least until then. I'm planning on keeping the other plants (mostly hostas) in pots for two years to make sure they haven't been infected, and hopefully to rid the soil of any remaining nematodes. I'm worried about the rhodies/azaleas though as I have never overwintered them in pots. They probably aren't hardy enough to keep outside (I'm Zone 6a). I have an unheated garage, but it is attached to the house and is warmer than outside. Last year I killed a few hydrangeas that were in the garage because of the early warm spells alternating with the cold.

I have two large leaf rhodies in pots - if they aren't susceptible to foliar nematodes, I'd like to plant them elsewhere in my garden. As far as the azaleas and lepidotes go, I'd love to hear about or see photos of nem damage. As I haven't found it, I don't know what to look for.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rhodies/Azaleas and Foliar Nematodes

The University of Minnesota in [ ] state:

Aphelenchoides fragariae have broad host ranges and are capable of infecting hundreds of species of plants. In addition to broad host range, there are few effective nematicides labeled for home use.

In [ ] they show a photo of damage on an azalea showing the v-shaped holes.

They are listed as pests of both rhododendron and azaleas, though not much is reported on this, so the occurrence must be very rare There are reports from Belgium and Brazil.

RE: Rhodies/Azaleas and Foliar Nematodes

I have a 1966 article where they inoculated azaleas w/nems in Florida and they definitely developed the symptoms. I've seen pictures but they weren't clear enough for me to distinguish the signs on my own plants, whereas I can pretty easily spot them on my hostas and brunnera. Also this year my plants have a lot of brown spots from the wacky weather.

Where I see anything suspicious I am testing the plants. I'll report in if I find anything.

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