I planted 2 azaleas last spring and they looked healthy all year. After the
snow melted this spring, the vast majority of both bushed appeared dry and
brown. I have a few green leaves near the bottom with some flowers
beginning to bud. I'm not sure of the root cause (thinking I let the plants
get too dry late in the season). Once an azalea reaches this state (dried
and brown), is there a way to nurse them back to health or would I be better
off replacing them?
I'm in zone 5, planted in partial sun (afternoon) as a foundation planting.
Thanks in advance.
Maybe. The plant has been heavily stressed either due to drought,
winter weather and/or some other factors. It is best to water all woody
plants in the fall and spring when it is very dry unless you believe in
survival of only the fittest (and many people do). Don't over water or
use much water in very hot weather when root rot is a problem. It is
the old story, they like "moist, well-drained soil."
You can nurse it and see if it recovers. It is best to wait until the
mid of June before you start cutting back branches that show no signs of
life. Don't fertilize unless you see good healthy growth, then don't
use much fertilizer or fertilize after mid-June. Azaleas have very
shallow roots and will not do well the first year or two if it is very
dry. Evergreen azaleas are especially prone to this problem the first
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