azaleas flower beautifully at first then after about 10-14 days
the blooms soften and go brown. I've had this trouble for the past
three years and I've tried spraying with fungicide to no avail.
This year I fed them with liquid sheep manure and, while the bushes
look healthy, it makes no difference to the flowers dying off. Can
it be cured?
are several diseases that affect azaleas but it sounds like flower
blight is the culprit in your case. It's a fungal disease that affects
only the flowers, starting off as spots on the petals but eventually
spreading to cause the whole flower to collapse. It is worse during
rainy weather when the blooms stay wet for long periods, which also
helps the disease spread from flower to flower.
The fungus lives from
one season to the next in the mulch and decomposing organic material
beneath the bushes, so one way to help break the cycle is to clean
this up in winter and replace with clean mulch before the new season's
blooms open. When the flowers do begin to open, you could spray
with a fungicide such as Bravo or Greenguard, according to the label
recommendations. Spraying every 10 days or so during the flowering
season should help control the disease and, along with clearing
up the debris under the bushes, the severity of infection should
be a lot less next year.
Gardener, Issue 185, 2005, Page 30
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.