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These azaleas were planted about 5 or 6 years ago in Cincinnati (zone 6.) They have done really well until this year. 3 of the plants still look pretty good, but two are looking terrible. Any idea what is causing the deterioration?
I agree, Lacebug, also you can find some sprays or dusts that are harmless to pets. If you are primarily spraying the plant, I doubt a dog would be harmed by it, I spray plants all the time and have dogs and a cat whom wander all around in my greenhouse and my shrubs, none have ever been harmed. I would recommend Bayer sprays, I found one that is awesome, I think it is called Bayer Advanced Complete, which is for turf and plants, I spray all of my plants, from orchids to begonias, and some cacti and have had NO problems at all. I had a plant someone gave me that infested a couple of plants in my house, I used it, bam bugs are gone, and the spray has a residual effect, it is water proof after one hour and is considered a systemic spray, which means the bugs will continue to be killed long after you spray.
I will advise it is a bit more costly, I paid $12.50 for mine, but it is worth it, they offer it in the type of bottle you can attach to a hose, also a bottle that you dilute yourself, which the later is the best buy. When you spray the Azaleas, be sure to get the undersides of the leaves, basically drench the whole plant to the point of run off. I also advise you spray it very early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun will not be pounding on it to burn it. Hope that helps, if you need any more info, dmail me, I will try to help if I can. Good luck and ACT FAST with an infestation like that, it needs treatment asap, and you may have to repeat the treatments a few times to be totally rid of it...oh, and you might want to spray surrounding plants as well, as bugs will travel when you spray!
I've used neem oil or Safer soap with success. There are still a few lacebugs sometimes but the plants are healthy. Azalea lace bugs generally won't damage plants too badly, except in sunny locations - maybe you can move the azaleas to a shadier spot?
Stovall Gardens! I forgot about my order, I will send you an d-mail tonight.