Satsuki Azalea Advice

Two azaleas were failing and subsequently moved from their pots into a garden bed in hope of recovery.
Azalea A (below) has not shown any sign of recovery since the leaves turned brown and dried off. Does anyone have suggestions to revive it?

Azalea B has produced strong leaf growth in the apex and some shoots are starting to show on the lower branches. Should I nip the top growth to divert energy to the lower growth or just leave well enough alone?

Try the thumbnail test on the bark of A and see if there is green when you scratch. Test a few different branches and trunk areas. If not, I’m afraid it’s likely lost.

I’d say leave B alone and let it recover. You can always hard prune later once it has regained vigor.

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Thanks @chuckwheat.
That makes sense.
Are you familiar with the black bag “sweating” technique that seems to be popular in the UK?
I was wondering if that might coax some life back into A.

Look this video of Peter Warren . Around 1:20:00 he shows how you can try to rescue you azalea. But I think it only works, if there is some green under the the bark.

Thank you for reminding me of that video @satsuki61. I had forgotten that technique for rejuvenation.

I’m familiar with it, but I’ve never had to use it. My climate in the southeast US is quite a bit different than the UK. I’ve got heat and humidity by the truckload :). Azalea respond well here even to what seems like drastic work. I’ve used some of John Geanangel’s (Youtube) techniques with great results.

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Azalea is basal dominant, not apical. So if you are getting growth at the apex, leave it, or just reduce enough to keep shape. Reduce vigor in the lower portion to keep the apex strong.

Thanks @Bob_McCarlie.
So far it is just a few leaves at the apex.