Sometimes things don’t work out. This azalea has been reliable for a great show every April for the last 15 years. This year, it was repotted into a nice Koyo pot, and I was looking forward to the new combination. I didn’t do much root pruning, just new soil. As of April 8, it seemed well on the way.
So, it could be several problems; it dried out, froze, or maybe hit with a pesticide or fungicide. I’m pretty careful to avoid spraying trees with chemicals while they’re blooming. Checking the weather almanac, it didn’t freeze between 4/13 and 4/23, but it also didn’t rain.
Here is what I think caused it: I moved the azalea to keep the blooms out of the sun, and apparently the spot didn’t get good coverage by the irrigation system. Hopefully losing the flowers for a year was the worst of it, and it will be a good growing season, but for now, here it is, cleaned up after the flowering bust.
By mid-May,the weak new growth was very yellow.
1. Lack of Nitrogen or Magnesium; or the ability to use what’s there.
2. Fungal problem.
3. Cumulative effects of 2 years in full sun.
I soaked the tree for a few hours in a solution of Eco-Vie. I’ve been hitting everything almost weekly with Daconil, so I doubt it’s fungal. But to be safe, I dunked the tree in a biological fungicide for a few hours to kill off anything that might be soilborne; maybe from the last tree I had in that Koyo pot.
The last option is to move the azalea into a whole lot of shade. Which I did, in mid-July, as the heat index was hitting 106. And while it was sitting in the shade, and I was sitting in the house searching the inter webs for other potential causes, I read where (duh) high soil pH presents as light colored leaves, or sections of the tree in azaleas. So, I bought some soil acidifier and gave it a shot.
So after a month of feeding a soil-acidifying organic fertilizer, the color and turgor are a bit better, but still not impressive. This is mid-August:
And 10 days later, the foliage color was improving, but the vigor has not. The lower right branch is still rather yellow:
And worst case scenario…ok, second-worst-case scenario, it could be an interesting single-trunk tree. Hope we don’t get there though.