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Lace Bug Damage on Azalea and Rhododendron

May 4, 2017

A couple of years ago our Rhododendrons looked sick because of a Lace Bug attack.  Lace Bugs also love to attack Azaleas.  We also had scale insect problems on other shrubs.

The upper leaves of plants infested with Lace Bugs appear to be speckled. Lace Bugs are a common pest of Azalea and Rhododendron that can cause the plant to decline with continued infestations. (click photo to enlarge)

I do not like the hassle of repeat sprays and trying to get the timing exactly right and the difficulty of having to spray the undersides of the leaves to stop Lace Bug damage.  My solution:  A good systemic insect control to protect the plant from the inside/out with just one treatment to the soil.  (A systemic insect control is absorbed by the plant roots to get inside the plant to protect it.)  I had great success with Ortho Tree & Shrub Insect Control Ready to Use Granules.  One spring application did the trick for all the whole year.  

I also feed our shrubs one time in spring with Osmocote Outdoor & Indoor Plant Food.  One more thing, our soil is naturally on the acidic side so we do not need to do anything to help lower the soil pH like you need to do in some areas of the country to grow Rhododendron and Azaleas.  If your acid-loving plants are not doing especially well in your location, test your soil to determine if you need to lower the pH by adding sulfur and begin feeding them with a special plant food for acid-loving plants like this one from Miracle-Gro (click here for more info).

As you can see our Rhododendrons look great once we got Lace Bugs under control. Be sure to feed your Rhododendrons and Azaleas after they bloom.

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