Satsuki Azalea brown tips/residue?

butternut

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Hey guys this is my first post! I just got into bonsai recently and got a few trees, one of which was a satsuki azalea (aoinohikari if I’m not mistaken)

I just brought it back the other day and I’m noticing a few leaves yellowing/browning and I may be overreacting but I figured I’d ask instead of regretting not asking sooner. There is also this brown residue-like color on the bottom of the leaf. Looks like I could just dust it off but it seems I can’t. I also noticed 2 leaves with super brown dried parts of their leaves which seemed completely different than the other browning (I added a picture where I broke off the brown part).

The day I brought it home I watered it with some hose hard water (no clue if the bonsai nursery I picked it up from used hard water) but I grabbed distilled water the very next day. I’ve been watering it once a day usually in the AM and it’a getting morning sun until about noon-1pm then moves to shade. I don’t know if I’m underwatering or overwatering but I use a wooden chopstick to check the soil and only water it when the top inch or two is dry as I’ve read that’s how I should be doing it. Could it be getting too much sun? Ours gets pretty hot here in California and the nursery had a shade net but this thing did grow in full sun in the ground for a few years

I am also afraid it could be an insect thing? But I have no clue how to determine that. I hope I’m just overreacting but it’s just hard to be sure when there are tons of conflicting theories out there. Thanks in advance! I’d really love to stay on top of this tree, I’ve grown to love it in the span of 4 days.
 

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butternut

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Thanks sorce! Sad that my first post has to be this but glad that I'm here.

Just an update to anyone who can help: I did see small black spots that fell off when i moved them under and on a few leaves. Have a huge suspicion it's lacebugs. If it is, what could I do to prevent them?
 

JudyB

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It could be an insect thing, you can use insecticidal soap and keep an eye out. I would also think that if it is very hot where you are, that you might want to back the sun exposure off a little. Could be that where it came from was not as hot or as sunny of an exposure. Welcome.
 

butternut

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I'd try and check the soil pH 🤔 See if it is still between 4.5 and 6

I'll be checking the pH more. Should I just grab a cheap pH meter off Amazon or do you have any recommendations for something better. I plan to get 1 or 2 more azaleas so it'll be useful eventually.

It could be an insect thing, you can use insecticidal soap and keep an eye out. I would also think that if it is very hot where you are, that you might want to back the sun exposure off a little. Could be that where it came from was not as hot or as sunny of an exposure. Welcome.

I will do both of those things. Maybe i'll shade the azalea at 10:30/11? It would get around 4 hours of sun if that's not too much. As far as the insecticidal soap, is that a home remedy or is it a purchasable item and is there a difference between that and neem oil? I've heard that may also work. Sorry for all the questions, just don't want to do anything rash. Appreciate the suggestion!
 
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I'll be checking the pH more. Should I just grab a cheap pH meter off Amazon or do you have any recommendations for something better. I plan to get 1 or 2 more azaleas so it'll be useful eventually.

A cheap test kit would be fine I think, remember that azaleas should not dry out but shouldn't be kept in permanent wetness. You might want to hold off on the water a little if you're going to put it under more shade
 

Harunobu

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Not sure, but the last picture looks like a piece was gnawed out. Not just the normal tip/edge browning. So for the leaf edges that seem intact but brown, that should mean an unnoticeable area was eaten away?
It does make me a bit suspicious that it is the leading edge at the tips of the leaves that are browning. You would say that is some form of water/drought stress.

Yeah, azalea need their pH. And yeah people have had problems with hard water. But you got this plant for 4 days. It is in acidic soil because that's what every nursery uses. So a pH test seems pointless.
I would try more shade and less water. Less sun means it can dry up more without stressing out. So you know you aren't overwatering because there is much less risk of underwatering. You probably want to get it out of that nursery pot for long term watering reasons. It is likely root bound.
 

armetisius

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Hey guys this is my first post! I just got into bonsai recently and got a few trees, one of which was a satsuki azalea (aoinohikari if I’m not mistaken)

I just brought it back the other day and I’m noticing a few leaves yellowing/browning and I may be overreacting but I figured I’d ask instead of regretting not asking sooner. There is also this brown residue-like color on the bottom of the leaf. Looks like I could just dust it off but it seems I can’t. I also noticed 2 leaves with super brown dried parts of their leaves which seemed completely different than the other browning (I added a picture where I broke off the brown part).

The day I brought it home I watered it with some hose hard water (no clue if the bonsai nursery I picked it up from used hard water) but I grabbed distilled water the very next day. I’ve been watering it once a day usually in the AM and it’a getting morning sun until about noon-1pm then moves to shade. I don’t know if I’m underwatering or overwatering but I use a wooden chopstick to check the soil and only water it when the top inch or two is dry as I’ve read that’s how I should be doing it. Could it be getting too much sun? Ours gets pretty hot here in California and the nursery had a shade net but this thing did grow in full sun in the ground for a few years

I am also afraid it could be an insect thing? But I have no clue how to determine that. I hope I’m just overreacting but it’s just hard to be sure when there are tons of conflicting theories out there. Thanks in advance! I’d really love to stay on top of this tree, I’ve grown to love it in the span of 4 days.

Spray with Daconil to be safe and
Check this out:

 

butternut

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Yeah, azalea need their pH. And yeah people have had problems with hard water. But you got this plant for 4 days. It is in acidic soil because that's what every nursery uses. So a pH test seems pointless.
I would try more shade and less water. Less sun means it can dry up more without stressing out. So you know you aren't overwatering because there is much less risk of underwatering. You probably want to get it out of that nursery pot for long term watering reasons. It is likely root bound.

Thanks for the advice. I didn't water today but the soil stayed moist so I think maybe I was starting to overwater it? I don't know how long its been in that pot at the nursery. I was planning on repotting in the early spring because I'm pretty sure it's too late but if it continues to be a problem I may have to consider it? The sun is pretty hot so maybe that was taking its' toll too. We'll see how it does


You think it's a fungal thing? I was just going to use some insecticide soap or something of that nature since I don't really want to use it if I don't need to. I don't want to cause any unnecessary stress to the thing.
 

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