Fungal Feast

Just over 12 days ago,I bought from B & Q’s Garden Centre in Chelmsford 2 Azaleas which I took home and put into the garden. After about a week of working I returned to them and noticed that one had begun to seriously die back. After looking online i found out that this is caused by a disease in the soil,which was present it seems when i bought them both.

Fungal diseases can cause azalea branch dieback: Botryosphaeria and Phytophthora. There is no practical chemical treatment for either disease, although fungicides may prevent the disease from spreading to other plants. Phytophthora is generally fatal and you should remove the plant right away to prevent the spread of disease. Symptoms include leaves that go from pale green to yellow to brown, prematurely falling leaves, and dieback. Unless the plant was exceptionally healthy before contracting the disease, you might find that your azalea bushes are dying within two or three weeks. The disease lives in the soil, so don’t replace the plants you remove with more azaleas. Botryosphaeria is a very common azalea fungus. You’ll find dying branches here and there on an otherwise healthy plant.

Leaves on affected branches turn dark and roll up, but they don’t fall off. You can treat the plant by pruning out diseased branches, but you might want to consider removing the plant since you’ll have to battle this disease every year. You can help your azaleas resist disease by providing them with good drainage and partial shade. Diseases often enter the branches through pruning wounds and injuries from landscape maintenance. Point lawnmowers away from the plant to prevent injury from flying debris, and take care not to damage the plant by trimming too close with a string trimmer.

Thankfully when I returned the plant to the store they replaced it straight away without even looking at my receipt,which by chance I’d actually lost.

For more information and to learn more about Azalea Dieback Diseases click on this link:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/azalea/azalea-branches-dying.htm

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