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cgaengineer
04-04-2010, 09:09 PM
I dont have any customers with azaleas and would like a bit of advice.

I am looking for some pointers on trimming azaleas. I am not concerned about removing flowers or possible new buds, but I would like to form them into a hedge. Right now they are very thin and scraggly looking and appear to have some sort of fungus or mites (I'm not sure, its gold in color), they also have shoots that tower out above the shrub.

These shrubs are about 2 seasons old and are my own. The area they are in get about 4-5 hours of morning sun (maybe not enough sun), but I planted them in this area because nothing else would grow do to low light.

CkLandscapingOrlando
04-05-2010, 07:19 AM
Well the best time to trim this is right after the blooms fad. Cut them back and then just top them for shape but allow thm to get bigger through out the year. Sounds like thripes to me. The get inside the leaves and suck out the clorafill causing the color. You'll want a systemic

zturncutter
04-05-2010, 07:54 AM
I dont have any customers with azaleas and would like a bit of advice.

I am looking for some pointers on trimming azaleas. I am not concerned about removing flowers or possible new buds, but I would like to form them into a hedge. Right now they are very thin and scraggly looking and appear to have some sort of fungus or mites (I'm not sure, its gold in color), they also have shoots that tower out above the shrub.

These shrubs are about 2 seasons old and are my own. The area they are in get about 4-5 hours of morning sun (maybe not enough sun), but I planted them in this area because nothing else would grow do to low light.

Another insect possibility is Aphids, they are also a sucking insect and will give the leaves a yellow mottled appearance. If the problem is Thrips they will also curl the leaves over time. The systemic insecticide will work for both. When trimming the Azaleas remember they bloom on old wood so don't trim them any later than August or so, so that you will get a good show of blooms in the spring.

Dreams To Designs
04-05-2010, 09:43 AM
Before guessing on a cause, how about some pictures of the damage on the leaf, both top and bottom.

Azaelas can be pruned hard, but don't use gas powered shears. Get a good set of hand pruners and a decent lopper, keep the blades sharp and clean, and have at it. Try to prune down low, so that the new branching will fill in and give you better height control. Shearing the tips will lead to poor growth habits and pest and disease problems. These plants maybe stressed, making them more susceptible to pest or disease problems, Many in the rhododendron family exposed to long periods of full sun will be stressed and often have a lacebug infestation.

Kirk

cgaengineer
04-06-2010, 05:48 AM
I will get some pictures up as soon as I can and I appreciate everyone's advice.

And Kirk, I actually picked up a set of loppers yesterday and some Bayer 3 in 1 spray but will hold out until I get some pictures, as close as these are to the house a few hours of morning sun is all they get which is why I chose azaleas for this area. These azaleas definitely look better than they did last season but I'm pretty sure there is something wrong with them. I did use hedge trimmers on them last year and read in my shrub book not to use them on azaleas which is why I got some loppers, but my book doesn't go into detail on diseases and insect problems.
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cgaengineer
04-06-2010, 06:42 AM
This was the worst looking leaf clump I could find.

Top:

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Azaleas/top1.jpg

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Azaleas/top2.jpg

Bottom:

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Azaleas/Bootom1.jpg

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Azaleas/Bootom2.jpg

cgaengineer
04-06-2010, 06:44 AM
I can get better pictures if needed but I will have to get out my D200, tripod and my lights. Let me know if these will suffice.

Dreams To Designs
04-06-2010, 07:05 AM
Chris, it does look like lacebug damage, all except for the yellow spots. Lacebugs leave behind a sticky residue, and perhaps the yellow is pollen that has blown in and stuck to the leaves. May also be thrips, but the thrips are usually still infesting. You can check by holding a piece of white paper under the leaves and shaking to see what falls on the paper. Insecticidal soaps can be used to control either pest, but determine why they are being attacked. Most healthy azalea can thwart a pest attack with only minor damage.

Kirk

cgaengineer
04-06-2010, 08:52 AM
Chris, it does look like lacebug damage, all except for the yellow spots. Lacebugs leave behind a sticky residue, and perhaps the yellow is pollen that has blown in and stuck to the leaves. May also be thrips, but the thrips are usually still infesting. You can check by holding a piece of white paper under the leaves and shaking to see what falls on the paper. Insecticidal soaps can be used to control either pest, but determine why they are being attacked. Most healthy azalea can thwart a pest attack with only minor damage.

Kirk

Considering I am not very happy to use pesticides I would prefer to use a soap anyway. Any home solutions that can be made or is there a product you suggest?

I am the type of person who prefers wildlife (frogs, toads, lizards, birds) over shrubs, if they cannot be remedied with one or two apps of insecticidal soap or the Bayer 3 in 1 I'd just soon pull them out and replace them with a shrub that's heartier and better suited for that location (mostly shade).

cgaengineer
04-06-2010, 08:53 AM
Chris, it does look like lacebug damage, all except for the yellow spots. Lacebugs leave behind a sticky residue, and perhaps the yellow is pollen that has blown in and stuck to the leaves. May also be thrips, but the thrips are usually still infesting. You can check by holding a piece of white paper under the leaves and shaking to see what falls on the paper. Insecticidal soaps can be used to control either pest, but determine why they are being attacked. Most healthy azalea can thwart a pest attack with only minor damage.

Kirk

Oh, and the yellow spots should not be pollen, they looked just like that this winter so they have to be something else.

Dreams To Designs
04-06-2010, 09:28 AM
Chris, soaps and oils are you best defense, but check the local laws for application permission. Not sure if it's insect frass, fungus or some other secretion. Throw a few leaves in a ziplock bag and take to an extension agent or knowledgeable purveyor of chemical, not always the same guy.

Kirk

cgaengineer
04-06-2010, 09:39 AM
Chris, soaps and oils are you best defense, but check the local laws for application permission. Not sure if it's insect frass, fungus or some other secretion. Throw a few leaves in a ziplock bag and take to an extension agent or knowledgeable purveyor of chemical, not always the same guy.

Kirk

Thanks Kirk,

Well since this is for my own Azaleas the law shouldn't apply unless I apply against label or apply something not specific to treat the problem correct? I would prefer to use a soap if it will actually work, but I need to figure out which soap would be best.

I will see if I can find a knowledgeable person that can help me diagnose the problem...our extension service is a joke.

Dreams To Designs
04-06-2010, 07:49 PM
I have excellent results with Safer, Insecticidal Soap. Figure out why the plants are stressed first, and correct, feed and irrigate after you prune.

Sorry to hear about the Extension Service. I'm fortunate to have a very knowledgeable and helpful employee at my local Lesco, plus a whole host of academics and professionals in the industry for guidance.

Kirk

CMerLand
04-09-2010, 10:52 PM
Almost certainly lacebug damage. As mentioned they feed on the leaves and leave small black deposits on the underside of the leaf surface. Azaleas in part to full sun are especially prone to attack. Evergreen azaleas will retain the damaged leaves for years until they fall off when replaced by new leaves. Semi decidiuos damage not as noticable.

Lacebug thrive on on your broadleaf flowering evergreens. Rhodo, andromeda and azeala are the meal of choice.

Little early in the season now but lift leaves at first signs of damage to new leaves. Youll see minor stipling until the whole leaf is bleached out. You'll see small 1/8 inch bugs with clear "lacewings".

Soaps will work provided you treat the underside of leaves thoroughly. Also remove leaf litter, lightly mulch,(DONT BURY THE MIDDLE OF THE PLANT) fertilize and irrigate properly to reduce environemental stress. Systemic pesticides work best as the leaves absorb the material and kills beyond just contact to present insects but for a short period after application.

Best of luck.