Azalea Help

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by cgaengineer, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    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.
     
  2. CkLandscapingOrlando

    CkLandscapingOrlando LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 652

    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
     
  3. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    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.
     
  4. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    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
     
  5. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    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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  6. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    This was the worst looking leaf clump I could find.

    Top:

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    Bottom:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    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.
     
  8. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    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
     
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    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).
     
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

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

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