Every spring, summer and fall, a customer will bring an azlaea leaf to us with this white lacy look. Usually by the time a customer brings in their leaf the whole plant has this appearence.
These are the common question asked:
Is this caused by a disease?
Most people think the plant has become victum to some kind of azalea disease. However, that is a mis-conception. What really has happened is that an insect called lace bug found the azalea and launched a very vigorus attack.
What is lace bug?
Adult Lace bug is a small brownish or blackish insect with wings. The nymphs are blackish in color with spiny protrutions and no wings.
How does this insect damage the Azaleas?
This insect uses it's piercing-sucking mouths parts on the underside of the leaves to withdrawn chorophyll from the plant.
Will Lace bug kill azaleas?
A light infestation of Lace Bug will only cause an unattractive appearence in the azalea. However, a heavy infestation will cause the leaves to turn brown and drop pre-maturely thus eventually causing the plant to decline and then die.
How do you get rid of Lace Bug?
If you already have an infestation of Lace bug, you will need to spray your azaleas with a insectide like malathion.
How can I prevent this problem in the future?
Using a systemic insectide on your azaleas will keep the plant from incurring this kind of damage. Although this will not keep the Lace bug from attacking, it will kill them before they can do any damage.
What is the best way to apply a systemic insecticide?
Using a fertilizer that is blended with a systemic insecticide is the best method. this way you can fertilize your plants April through August and give protection from insects as well.
Prevention is the key to keeping your azaleas healthy.