Azalea problem in Silver Spring

Asked November 7, 2016, 11:32 PM EST

My mother has an azalea hedge made up of 5 to 6 plants over 15 years in age. Over the past 5 years the plants are gradually dying. A neighbor suggested it was due to the chemicals in the snow when they shovel the sidewalks so I cut them all back from their 4' height to about 2' and removed all the dead limbs and all weeds this past July. It came back with new growth and new dead branches. My sister took a branch to Johnson's and they suggested the Bayer 3-in-1 treatment which we did 3 weeks running with no change in the ongoing dying branches. I took a branch to the Master Gardeners at the Olney Farmer's Market in September and they suggested I reach out to you. For as much as the hedge continues to grow it also continues to die. I don't want to destroy the plants and plant new ones if the problem will just attack the new plants. My sister believes it is a blight. I am more than willing to send samples. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I can send pictures that I took in September if that would be helpful. Thank-you, Melinda

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

There could be multiple issues going on with these plants.
Definitely stop the Bayer treatment; you are over applying.
Seeing photos would be helpful. They can be attached directly to this reply.

In the meantime, here is a publication which covers many of the common problems that azaleas can have:


In reading thru the azalea publication it most mimics Branch Dieback. I have attached 3 pictures I took in September to show the Master Gardener up in Olney.

We viewed your photos. Overall they look good but see branch dieback. Looks like they are growing in a tough site under or near some pine trees. There will be a lot of competition for moisture and nutrients in this area. When stressed by drought and poor site conditions azaleas can be susceptible to possible canker diseases ( Botryosphaeria Dieback). Azaleas grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade in a well drained soil. Check the drainage in the area. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the stems. All you can do is prune dead plant material and water during dry periods. It may be helpful to lay a soaker hose in the area and water in the summer during dry periods. See the above publication on azaleas for more information.