Azaleas and Weed and Feed / Question for group


In the Spring of each year, I put down a weed and feed product. I have many Azalea beds. Some years they bloom well, others they don't. I try to fertilize them separately with a product formulated for them.
It has occurred to me that when I fertilize my lawn with weed and feed, I go up adjacent to my azalea beds. These are very old azaleas (25 years), so I guess their roots extend out quite a bit. I wonder if the weed and feed (Atrazine) is going to the outside roots of the azaleas, and stunting them some ? I don't think any of the weed and feed gets closer than 3 feet from the main trunk of the bushes, but if the feeders come out more than 3 feet then in a way I may be giving them some weed and feed which is not my intention.
Any comments, or thoughts ??
--James--
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The nitrogen of the fertilizer and the weed killer both can be a problem. I wouldn't use the produce within a couple yards, more if there is a slope and you are applying uphill from the azaleas. Azaleas have shallow roots and are very sensitive to anything on the surface or that is washed by rain or irrigation. Atrazine remains active for up to six months so it is a real potential problem.
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Thank you Steve !!
--James--
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Azalea roots are surprisingly restricted in area, but regular watering could well cause inappropriate fertilizers to migrate into that root zone.
Why a shrub doesn't bloom well one year but superbly the year before & after is sometimes obvious, but other times a mystery that will never be entirely resolved.
Others who love rhodies & azaleas may disagree with me, but I believe fertilizing these shrubs annually is too much. Sudden doses, large doses, rich doses, or too many doses of fertilizer is more of a stress factor than an aid. Less is more where rhodies & azaleas are concerned. They get more benefit from a thin mulching with composted manure or even just leaves left to go to leafmold. Rich or too regular fertilizing induces leggy branch growth & lots of leaves, if not actual decline of the shrub's health, but isn't apt to improve bloom.
But other factors also effect bloom, including what the buds experienced through the winter, & what stresses the shrub experienced the whole growing period of the previous year, or how & when a shrub was pruned or deadheaded, or the watering schedule & rainfall it experienced while developing buds. Some of the shrubs' experiences are not controlable by a mortal gardener.
Timing of the rare/occasional/slight fertilizing or compost topcoating MIGHT also be important -- given to shrubs one by one shortly after each stops blooming, rather than an entire collection all at once without regard for their bloom time, or at a time too close to autumn to be healthful.
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Weed-and-feed products are a victory of marketing over common sense. A weed-and-feed product really amounts to an indiscriminate and unnecessary use of pesticides -- if your lawn is in such bad shape that you need to put a weedkiller over the entire lawn maybe you should start over --
Since the atrazine also stresses your turfgrass :(especially St. Augustine), the manufacturers make the "feed" part of it a very high nitrogen fertilizer, to hide and counteract the effect of the nitrazine.
You wouldn't use an unbalanced fertilizer such as 29-3-3 by itself -- especially one with high amounts of soluble nitrogen, nor would you go out and spray your turfgrass with atrazine -- but somehow the manufacturers have sold the idea that if you put the two out together it's all right. Weed-and-feed are significant contributors to the existence of high levels of pesticides and nitrogen in the ground water, plus there is some evidence that atrazine is hazardous to both dogs and cats.
You'd be better off to spot treat weeds where they exist, and use a better fertilizer for your turfgrass, lower in nitrogen and lower in soluble nitrogen. Plus your pets, your azaleas and your local water resources would be better off. -- Regards --

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I put weed and feed down to kill the weeds in my very large yard.
It does a good job.
I am happy.
It is not a political matter with me, and I did NOT consult Al Gore on the matter.
Thanks !!
--James--
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James wrote: || I put weed and feed down to kill the weeds in my very large yard. || || It does a good job. || || I am happy. || || It is not a political matter with me, and I did NOT consult Al Gore || on the matter.
i hope you didn't consult duh-bya. you'd only end with a retarded lawn.
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It's not a political issue. I agree with World Traveler. If you're regularly using a Weed n Feed type of product, something is very wrong. These products are OK if you're trying to get a lawn that has desirable grass, but is full of weeds do to lack of care, under control. Then, they can be used appropriately a couple of times. After that, all that should be required is a pre-emergent crabgrass control and occasional spot weed control which uses a small amount of herbicide compared to just throwing it all over the lawn.
A healthy properly cared for lawn is thick enough to keep most of the weeds out to begin with. Indiscriminate and heavy application of herbicides is both unnecessary and bad practice. And where do you think all those chemicals eventually wind up? Apparently, James is more worried about what they might do to some shrubs than children, pets, wildlife, or our water supply.
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Duh-Bya's answer would be to call in an expert and have them do it. Maybe not such a bad idea, I am sure the poor azalea roots would appreciate it. God gives us others to fix our cars, drill our teeth, remove out gallbladders, and yes do gardening work. Let it go, it will cost you far less in worry, plus you will be enriching the life of another. Not to mention the azaleas.
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You been smoking fungicide again, Potpie?

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Without too much effort, the use of one of many precise long-handled weeders could remove the invading dandelions and crabgrass without tearing up your lawn.
A number of these tools are identified at the World of Weeds website: www.ergonica.com.
Ray ___________________________________________________ Talk about weeds: World of Weeds www.ergonica.com
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replying to James, Claudia wrote: Smart !
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The answer could be to call in an expert and have them do it. Maybe not such a bad idea, I am sure the poor azalea roots would appreciate it. God gives us others to fix our cars, drill our teeth, remove out gallbladders, and yes do gardening work. Let it go, it will cost you far less in worry, plus you will be enriching the life of another. Not to mention the azaleas. My grounds are beautiful, I never touch it.
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You been smoking fungicide again, Potpie?

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