Fungus? on our azaleas - what to do?

Asked June 8, 2018, 11:44 PM EDT

The previous owner of the house I bought a year ago planted a few lovely azalea bushes. This fungus (insect? I don't know what it is) has taken over parts of the azalea bush and appeared to kill off a number of branches already, but more are infected. Late fall last year I cut a few dead branches off, which snapped easily in my hand. I took the attached picture in November last year but the fungus remains at this point in June. This spring there were still flowers on the whole plant, but not where the fungus was heaviest. At this point, is there anything I can do? Is the plant doomed? Is there a fungicide or some other control? Not good at gardening, but I just want to make sure I'm taking care of them properly. Thanks!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

We notice lichens on some branches of your azaleas but they are not a reason for decline. The grow harmlessly and no control is necessary. See more on our website

When stressed by poor site conditions, poor drainage, etc. azaleas can be susceptible to root rots, cankers (Botryosphaeria Dieback), and possible sucking insects such as lacebugs.

Azaleas grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade in a well drained soil. If located in full sun, they can be stressed and susceptible to lacebugs. Turn the leaves over and look for this.
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. See the publication below on Cankers. There is no control other than pruning.