What should I do about azalea with grey leaves? #160283 - Ask Extension

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What should I do about azalea with grey leaves? #160283

Asked November 12, 2013, 6:38 PM EST

This year for the first time since I moved here in 1988, azalea leaves all over my neighborhood are grey. I noted online that this is due to a pest, and indeed there were tiny black spots on the undersides of leaves. 1. Why this year? 2. What to do about it?

Clackamas County Oregon

Expert Response

Hello,
It does sound like you have the azalea lace bug.  This is a relatively new pest to our area, which is why you may not have noticed it in your neighborhood until this past year.

I put a couple links to more information about controlling lace bugs.  The first link is a OSU landscape and nursery publication, so the chemical products listed may not all be available to homeowners if you decide to use chemical control.  The second is a California publication for homeowners, but is not specific to the azalea lace bug.  Both however should give some info that will help you to decide how to control this pest.

Beyond chemical control, there are also other cultural control recommendations such as keeping the plants shaded or well watered. It is also important to note that the moderate presence of the lace bugs will likely not reduce flowering or significantly harm the plant.  I have azaleas in my yard that I have decided to accept the damage and not treat for this reason.

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/40424/em9066.pdf
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7428.html

I hope this information helps guide you in managing the azalea lace bug and thank you for using "Ask an Expert".
Heather Stoven Replied November 12, 2013, 7:12 PM EST
Thank you. It is the entire area where I take longish walks that is afflicted so I wonder if this is related to warming.
The Question Asker Replied November 12, 2013, 8:29 PM EST

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