Learn / Ask The Landscape Professional
I have a large number of azalea bushes in my yard; they are well established and exhibit a great variety of color and show every spring. I have started to notice a fungus showing up on branches throughout most of my bushes. Any idea what this fungus is and how may I protect my plants from additional fungus spread? Dave G. – Groton
What you are observing on your Azaleas is lichens
growing on the stems. The lichens are not parasitic and will not harm
the Azaleas. They make their own food and get moisture from rainfall.
The lichens can be rubbed off by hand, but I would just leave it alone.
Lichens tend to grow where there is good air circulation. Because
your Azaleas have a less dense foliage, which allows more sunlight
to penetrate the branches, the lichens have found a good home.
Azaleas prefer morning sun, acid soil and soil moisture. So if your
Azaleas are planted in an area where they receive afternoon sun,
they could be stressed. Make sure the roots of the Azaleas are
mulched (about 2-3" but not buried), the mulch keeps the soil cool
and moist. Allow the leaves in the fall to decompose around the base
of the shrubs to create organic matter which feeds the Azaleas and acts as mulch. Do supplemental watering
during the hot, summer months if Mother Nature is not providing enough rain. Feed them each April with
Hollytone Organic Fertilizer, a slow release pelletized fertilizer that needs to be applied only once each year.
The moisture and feeding will help the vigor of the plants and hopefully grow in fuller and deter the growth of
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.