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Azalea Issues Leading to Browning
Ask the Expert:how to revive an azalea
my grandpa has three azalea bushes on the front of his house. they are kinda small. but one of the end ones isn't doing too great. half of it basically looks dead and the other half isn't spectacular but it looks a good bit better than the other half. the leaves and stems are turning brown as if they're drying out but they have had plenty of water due to rainfall. he has treated it with some sort of triple threat funguside called fertiloan that is supposed fight fungus and mites but it still does not look good. any suggestions on what type of treatment it might need? Tim
Plant Expert Reply:
First, you might as well prune out the brown branches that are dead. This will do 2 things: 1) removes any disease tissue that might have twig blight, 2) should stimulate the plant to produce new growth. Don't burn the branches instead place them in a garbage bag for pick up.
Second, make sure the azaleas are not getting too much water. Over-watering can present the same signs as under-watering and Azalea do not like wet feet. They are very susceptible to root rot. If your Azalea are newly planted, check the planting depth. The original top of the rootball should be slightly higher than ground level.
[caption id="attachment_7418" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Planting An Azalea"][/caption]This drawing is my attempt at demonstrating the correct root-ball placement when planting an azalea. You want the root-ball positioned so that the top is slightly higher than ground level. You will take the soil you dug out of the hole and used it to close the gap but you won't need to place it on top of the root-ball. You can cover the top of the ground and root-ball top with mulch. If the Azaleas are planted too deep, they will not properly drain and the plant could have problems just like the ones you are describing.
If water isn't the issue, give the triple action time to work. It won't correct the damage already done, but it will keep it from progressing. Spider mites and fungus can also cause Azaleas to turn brown. Triple Action has the right mixture to take care of both problems.
If you haven't fertilized the azaleas, give them a dose of fertilizer specifically blended for azaleas. Your local garden center should have one. At our garden center we carry a Fertilome Azalea fertilizer and a Hi-yield Fertilizer that work well. Azaleas need a slow-release fertilizer once a month April thru August.