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Are these leaves sick or normal?

Posted by emme-dc 7b DC (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 30, 12 at 21:43

Last spring I planted two new azaleas. One seems very happy, and has grown a lot. But I recently noticed its leaves appear speckled and whitish. See photo. There are no other signs of sickliness that I recognize--is this some kind of normal seasonal change in the foliage, or a disease? I have an older azalea not far away, and its leaves show a similar change, but less pronounced, and to no ill effect that I have seen.

The other is in a less shady spot and has unfortunately suffered from soil drying out a few times since I brought it home. It is also showing the speckled foliage, in fact more pronounced. So since the degree of speckling seems correlated with stress, it occurred to me it might actually be a sign of a problem. Please don't tell me it's deadly, tho!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Are these leaves sick or normal?

There's no photo I can see, but a whitish speckling usually means damage from lacebugs. Look at the leaf undersides. If it is lacebug damage, you'll see spots of shiny brown - the evidence of lacebug excrement. This is not a lethal problem, but if not prevented can weaken the plant if it goes on year after year. Systemic insecticides work, as do some sprays. Your County Extension Service or state agriculture department can recommend treatment options and the proper timing - an important consideration.

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