azalea plants

(Question)

my azalea girrard rose ( not sure if correct does not look good from winter. leaves usually stay and new ones appear slowly this year they appear to be all dried and nothing new.) should I cut it back feed it . thank you

 

(Answer)

It seems your azalea might have petal blight. According to the Azalea Society of America, petal blight presents as follows:

“Flowers first appear spotted, and collapse and appear water soaked in a few days. Dead flowers turn brown and cling to the plants instead of falling to the ground.  Petal blight is caused by an airborne fungus which over-winters on the spent flowers. Remove old mulch and replace with new in early spring. Spray with (a fungicide) when blooms begin to open. Continue at 7- to 10-day intervals during bloom period. Good coverage is essential.”

Alternatively, since the Azalea ‘Girard’s Rose’ is marginally hardy for Toronto (Zone 6a),  the symptoms described may be due to winter damage due from cold temperatures and desiccation from winds.

Concerning cutting back or feeding, the Azalea Society of America suggests:

“Established azaleas do not need fertilizer. To avoid inducing new growth which may be killed in the winter, do any fertilizing in late winter or early spring; never after July 1.

To avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds, do major pruning of azaleas soon after they bloom. Shortening or removal of long slender stems with no side shoots and cutting out dead wood may be done at any time.”

The Azalea Society of America’s website offers further information on the care of azaleas. http://azaleas.org

Hope your azaleas recover!