Azalea trouble

Asked April 8, 2019, 2:32 PM EDT

My azalea I planted last year is not looking well. It is in a garden with several large ones, and those are fine. I keep them bedded with pine straw and last week did give them some fertilizer.

Anne Arundel County Maryland azaleas decline shrub

1 Response

Your azalea looks like it is in decline. We notice small leaf size and poor shoot growth. When plants decline within the first year of planting it can usually be attributed to environmental and site conditions such as poor planting techniques, lack of establishment, poor drainage, poor soils, root issues, etc. Here are some issues to check for.

Make sure the plant was not planted too deeply; if the plants were balled and burlapped was the cord cut and was the burlap completely removed or cut away at least half way down the root ball; check the drainage; were the roots teased apart so they could grow into the native soil; if you added a lot of organic matter into the planting hole you may have created a bathtub effect as water sits in the planting hole and drowns the tree; what were your watering techniques, etc.
Take a look at our website for the planting process, video (explains the process), and aftercare. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/planting-process

Azaleas grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade in a well drained soil. At this point you can check for the above, make sure the soil drains well, not planted too deeply, test the soil for pH and nutrient deficiences, prune dead wood, and make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and away from the base of the stems. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing

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