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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Deciduous > Azalea/Rhododendron > Dead branches or branch or shoot dieback

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Azalea/Rhododendron > Stems/branches > Dead branches or branch or shoot dieback

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Winter injury

  • Leaves turn brown from the tip back and curl under
  • Peeling, sloughing, splitting or cracking of bark near the soil line
  • Fail to bloom because flower buds are damaged
  • Branches or entire plants may die back
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Phytophthora Root Rot
Phytophthora spp.

  • Leaves droop, turn dull-green to yellow and roll downward
  • Stunting, permanent wilting and leaf drop occurs as disease progresses
  • Roots are reddish-brown in color and many are rotted off
  • If the bark is scraped off at ground level. Sapwood is reddish brown
  • More information on Phytophthora root rot...
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Phytophthora leaf spot and shoot blight
Phytophthora spp.

  • Irregular gray to brown spots on leaves
  • Dark brown to black blotches on green stems
  • Leaf drop may occur and shoot tips die back
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Botryosphaeria canker
Botryoshaeria dothidea

  • Leaves on one or more branches wilt, die and turn brown
  • Cankers are sunken, dark colored areas on branches
  • Fungal fruiting bodies give canker area a rough or pimpled appearance
  • Infected young shoots turn dark brown and curl over in a shepherd's crook
  • More information on Botryosphaeria canker...
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Verticillium wilt
Verticillium spp.

  • Problem only in azaleas; rhododendrons are resistant
  • Leaves on one to several branches turn red to yellow, wilt, die and fall off
  • Dark olive to gray streaks are often visible in the sapwood if the bark is peeled back
  • The entire canopy may show symptoms in a single season or take several years
  • Symptoms are often most obvious in late summer and autumn but can occur throughout the growing season
  • More information on verticillium wilt...

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