Why is my Kurume Azalea dying?

On my last email, I sent a photo of this is full bloom. It then developed ?lace bug...leaves brown with black dots & green mold on stems. I used confador spray on underside of leaves and tablets in the soil and white oil on the green 'mold ' on stems. The mold remains and the bush is dying. What do I do? New growth seems ok but the bush has huge chuncks of dead wood.Plant is 40+years old. We have had lots of rain. Well fertilized and good drainge.

yates

05 March 2013 07:24 AM

Hi Marion,

What a shame your azalea hedge is looking so poorly. The fact that it is putting on new growth is a good sign. It is highly likely that the plant has been attacked by red spider mite. It is a common pest on azaleas at this time of the year. Fine webbing on the leaves is usually associated with this pest. The leaves take on a mottled appearance, they then become dry and finally fall off. You will need to spray with a product called Yates Nature's Way Vegie & Herb Spray Concentrate. This product will suffocate and dry out this pest. The trouble is that they have built up in huge numbers by this time of the year so it may take several applications of this product before the population is under control. Spray thoroughly on top and underneath the leaves. At this stage, you could gently prune out any of the dead wood that is present. Don't prune heavily as the plant is in a vulnerable state at the present moment and it may not respond well to a heavy prune. Apply an organic plant starter & root booster such as Uplift every two weeks. This product will gently help to improve the vigor and health of your plant. Once you can see improvement, apply a slow release fertiliser - Acticote for Roses & Flowering Plants. The 'mould' you are seeing is possibly lichen. This is harmless. You will quite often see lichen on old trees and shrubs. I am sure with some TLC you will soon have your hedge back to its former glory. Happy gardening.

Topics: Flowers and Ornamentals Issues: Pests