Azeala lifespan?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by oldmcdonaldsfarm, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. oldmcdonaldsfarm

    oldmcdonaldsfarm Well-Known Member

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    I live in an old house and have old azealas. For the past six years or so I have been losing a plant a year and was wondering could they be dying just due to the fact that they are so old?

    Is there a way I can take a clipping and root it to replace the ones that have died before they are all gone? I think in the next year or so I will have to pull up all that's left and start over.

    Thanks
     
  2. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    It's possible that you have wilt in the soil. How's the drainage? Are the trees nearby shading them too much? Over time the site plants are planted in change, and not always for the better for the plants started there years ago. It's like hearing someone taking down a huge tree in their yard and saying how different it looks. Also have to deal with grasses dying and other plants because they aren't used to, or able to, grow in the new environment. Same in reverse when large trees get bigger.
     

  3. bonsai jim

    bonsai jim Well-Known Member

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    As bonsai azaleas will live to be hundreds of years old; Many decades to a hundred years as garden shrubs which are then potted is not abnormal.

    The difference may of course be in the care. Azaleas absolutely require acidic soil. They should be fertilized well. They also like moist but not waterlogged soil. Trimming may help rejuvenate branches.

    Propagation by cuttings is possible, best in the early summer, after flowering I think.

    Hard to judge, but my guess is the watering and pH.

    jim
     
  4. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have azaleas around here that are 150 years old on Plantations. I have some in my yard that were here when I got here so they may be pushing 150 years too. Azaleas tolerate shade extremely well. They also like acidic soil. If you water too much and never replace the top layer of soil with mulch, leaf mold or peat, they will get an alkaline soil.

    Three ways to propogate...
    1) Layering. Take a stalk, scratch the woody skin off and lay that part on the ground with a little peat or leaf mold on top. Throw a brick on it and come back next spring. Cut off the stalk between the plant and the brick and plant in peak or compost and water well and frequently for one year. The plant will be ready to go in a year.
    2) Take new growth in the spring and put into 50-50 mix of sand and peat. Intermittently mist it every 10 minutes (with it in the shade) for about 3 weeks. Roots form in 2-3 weeks. Plant it up and care with water and fertilizer for about a year.
    3) Take 6" hardwood cuttings in the fall and stick them in 50-50 peat sand mix and bury them with only 1" sticking up. Water once daily. Plant in the spring.

    more info www.landspro.com
     
  5. oldmcdonaldsfarm

    oldmcdonaldsfarm Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. The ones in question are all in a group right off the front porch. I mulch them with pine needles every year (I heard somewhere that they like the pine needles because of the acidity - is that right?)

    Total number of azaleas around the house is about 20. It's just these six or so in the front of the house that are dying. Of course they are the ones I fertilize every year. :shrug: Maybe I should just ignore them and they will do well like all the others
     
  6. tweety

    tweety Tweety

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    Sometimes the foundation of the house leaches alkaline substances into the soil, which is why lilacs grow so well around old houses while azeleas and rhodies do not. Have you been using fertilizer especially made for acid-loving plants?
    Those rooting ideas are all good, give them a try, you have nothing to lose.
     
  7. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    Without a description of what the dying plants look like,we can really only guess.
    There are several things that can kill an azalea,but they are generally pretty tough plants.If the ones that have died are the ones that you have fertilized,I'd be interested to know what you fertilized them with,and with how much.An ovedose of nitrogen can kill dern near anything.Do you see yellow leaf tips when they start to get sick?
    To propogate azaleas,give RW's layering idea a try-it's easy,and it's a good thing to know,anyway,as it works well with lots of plants.Of course,if these are big,old azaleas,the may haved layered themselves already.Check around at the base of the plant,and look for anything that looks like another smaller azalea growing away from the root crown.If you find one,pull/dig it up,and you will likely find it to be an air layer.Like RW aid,just clip it off between the roots and the mother plant,and plant it.
     
  8. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    Aint that the truth.Katrina removed so very many huge shade trees around here that I have spent alot of time this year rearranging customers landscapes in an effort to relocate plants on the property to places that they can survive.
    I have one customer in particular that is convinced that I am hitting her hostas with the herbicide,and killing them.She absolutely will not accept that those hostas are getting fried by the full sun because the two enormous live oaks that used to shade them are gone.
    I am,however, expecting to see the azaleas bloom out like never before this spring,what with all the new sunlight,and all. :)