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[AZ] Re: frosty green crystal-like substance on my azaleas

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  • Steve & Darlene Henning
    The lichen just considers the azalea to be a platform such as a rock or tree is a platform. It doesn t always reflect on the health of the platform if it is
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 31, 2008
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      The lichen just considers the azalea to be a platform such as a rock
      or tree is a platform. It doesn't always reflect on the health of the
      platform if it is an azalea or other plant.

      Lichens indicate an older plant since they are slow growers, but an
      azalea that has lichens growing on it has an open structure that gets
      air and light. Lichens grow in open sunny situations. On a plant
      that is normally open, that is OK. On a plant that should have denser
      growth when healthy, that is an indication that it is not healthy.

      Three types of lichens have been described: (1) crustose forms, which
      are flattened against the limb; (2) folicose forms, which produce
      leaflike folds above the limb; and (3) fruiticose lichens, which
      produce highly branched structures with hair or fingerlike
      projections. Folicose and fruiticose lichens on leaves may shade
      foliage, but shading may slow as the host plant grows. A thick
      covering of lichens on a twig or branch may interfere with gas
      exchange of host tissues, causing decline or death.

      I have a slight disagreement Mike. Many azaleas thrive on older wood.
      Mine are mostly over 40 years old and just have older wood. They
      seem to maintain their vigor just fine. I don't have many natives
      like you do.

      --- In azaleas@yahoogroups.com, Mike Creel <mikeacreel@...> wrote:
      > Nancy, I have photographed lichens on rocks and trees for years,
      enjoying their beauty.  On shrubs like azaleas I think lichens are a
      sign that the plant's above ground stems are growing old, losing
      vitality and nearing the the end of their life cycle.  In other words
      your azaleas are more in need of pruning than they are any kind of
      poison to kill the lichens.  Old stems, too old, are much more likely
      to be populated by lichens than younger, more vigorous stems.  Some
      times too much spray irrigation can encourage lichens. 
      > Azaleas are shrubs, and their upright stems are not permanent like
      the trunk of a tree.  In nature the upright stems grow for perhaps 15
      years, sometimes more or less, and then die, causing the plant to
      regenerate from the root and grow new upright stems. In gardens an
      azalea should be pruned periodically, removing obviously old stems and
      causing the plant to regenerate from the base. 
      > In Maryland with winter approaching, it is probably too late to do
      growing season pruning to encourage new growth this season. But
      pruning an azalea during the dormant season (late fall, winter, early
      spring) by one third to one half could cause much new growth in the
      spring. I am sure other members of our group will have opinions on
      this winter pruning.
      > Mike Creel, SC
      > --- On Sat, 8/30/08, William C. Miller III <bill@...> wrote:
      > From: William C. Miller III <bill@...>
      > Subject: Re: [AZ] Re: frosty green crystal-like substance on my azaleas
      > To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com, bnbled@...
      > Date: Saturday, August 30, 2008, 4:35 PM
      > Hi Nancy,
      > I don't know about "crystal-like, " but I suspect you have lichen. 
      Lichens are the result of a symbiotic relationship between a fungus
      and an algae.  It isn't especially attractive, but it probably doesn't
      harm the azaleas.
      > See the image at:
      > http://www.pbase com/azaleasociet y/image/82092061
      > One suggestion in the literature is to spray with a copper sulfate
      solution.  I don't know if that works --- or if it's a good idea,
      since I've never had to deal with lichens.  For information along this
      line, see the Web site at:  http://www.gardenop us.com/Lichen. htm
      > --
      > William C. Miller III
      > Bethesda, Maryland
      > www.theazaleaworks. com
      > bnbled wrote:
      > --- In azaleas@yahoogroups .com, Nancyrsomers@ ... wrote:
      > >
      > > [this is from the ASK US page, so please send me a CC]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Hi I live in Somers CT and my azaleas have some type of a fungus -
      > it is a
      > > spiky light green on the bark and it is on all of my plants - one
      > is relatively
      > > new - They are planted near the house and mostly get early to late
      > afternoon
      > > sun -
      > >
      > > Have you ever seen this? It is worse this year and I am noticing
      > that there
      > > are essentially no buds on my plants -!
      > >
      > > Can you help?
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ************ ********* ********* ******** See what's free at
      > http://www.aol com.
      > >
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