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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools:
I have an Azara dentata or lanceolata. The leaves on the upper branches are drooping and on one limb, the leaves are yellowing and dropping off. The plant is about 15' tall. This is not the normal winter leaf drop. What could be happening?
We can't diagnose plant diseases remotely, so you might need to bring samples for the Master Gardener diagnostic clinic. However, there are some things to consider:
Is the soil too rich or heavy for the Azara? They prefer "a light mineral soil, low in fertility, and resent heavy and overly fertile soil in garden situations," according to Sean Hogan's Trees for All Seasons (Timber Press, 2008). They like afternoon shade, as well. Hogan says that Azara dentata likes regular deep watering, and protection from scorching afternoon sun. He says that Azara serrata and A. dentata are often confused: A. serrata has narrower, more glabrous leaves whose serrations are forward-pointing.
I grow Azara microphylla, and it has always dropped some yellowed leaves. The specimen here at the Center for Urban Horticulture also does this. Drooping branches don't sound good, and if your plant is dropping a large proportion of leaves, you should seek advice from the Master Gardener Clinic. Meanwhile, consider whether anything in your garden has changed recently: use of fertilizer or herbicide, change in sun exposure, soil amendments, etc. This will help narrow down the cause of the problem. Bringing a photo of the whole plant along with your sample is also a good idea.
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January 13 2017 10:35:53