Lace bug on azaleas
We have probably 20 azaleas and nearly all of them have at least some damage from lace bugs. We bought some systemic poison to kill them and understand that we need to take off all the flower buds so the bees dont die next spring. Should we cut off the leaves that have damage or will they fall off on there own or are the damaged leaves ok to leave?
Benton County Oregon
Darn, I'm sorry that you're dealing with this issue! So many of our beautiful azaleas have been affected in our area.
Removing the damaged leaves may not be practical-especially since you have so many plants. And it's hard to predict if the leaves will fall on their own. I have seen many plants that hold on to damaged leaves for several seasons. If you prefer, you can prune out the damaged areas. Since a systemic insecticide works from the inside of the plant, any eggs still on the undersides of leaves will hatch in the spring. However once the insects start feeding they will die. Removing these leaves will reduce any chance of the insects spreading to untreated plants.
You may have already seen this, but here is a great resource on Azalea Lace Bug from OSU Extension: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/em9066
Hope this helps and that your plants are able to recover!