I pruned my azaleas today... A few questions

gardenapprenticeFebruary 13, 2013

Today i pruned my azaleas I know it wasn't the right thing to do but, they had bloomed in late fall( encore azaleas ) and there were a few branches that didn't set any buds ( just the dead azaleas/ leaves) they are healthy and have no other problem. So I cut them and want to know if they will bloom in the summer or if they will bloom In the spring, oh and also since I pruned them will they even re-sprout new growth? We usually have the first signs of spring in the beginning of march. Below is a pic of one twig I pruned

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My first thought was regarding concern for the branches with dead leaves, and how severe that was. A dead limb is often a sign of a problem near the crown of the plant. However, judging from what I can see in the photo, the plant does appear to be in good overall health and pruning out damaged branches is the right thing to do, as this will encourage new growth. However, you do want to be very reserved and selective about winter pruning.

As for the blooming, encore azaleas have a Spring and Fall blooming cycle. Usually, a light pruning commonly referred to as "deadheading" is done after the Spring blooming begins to fade. This is done to keep the hormone levels in the plant from shifting. The blooming activity is part of the plants reproduction, so once the blooms fully mature and begin to fade, the plant is triggered to slow down the production of the bloom producing hormones. So once your flowers weather a bit, simply prune just below the first set of leaves nearest the bloom each Spring. This will improve your Fall blooming cycle significantly. Also, use your winter months to replenish the phosphate levels, which are usually depleted by heavy blooming cycles.

I'm in the Atlanta area, but you're welcome to visit my webpage and link to the Facebook page. I keep an open log on Facebook with pests and problems I find in the field, and what can be done to avoid the problems. There are several photos with various pests that go after Azaleas. While lace bugs are the most common, my favorite is of a wooly aphid I found last Spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Serenity Lawn Service

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:39PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Just a couple of additions.

The spring bloom is produced by buds that were set last year, so any buds you cut off will reduce your spring bloom. The summer/fall bloom is on new growth, so that may actually be better since pruning tends to stimulate new growth.

Usually deadheading is done by picking spent flowers off before they form seed pods. This conserves the energy in the plant. This is much easier in rhododendrons than azaleas. I can see where some people would prune off the spent flowers. This is especially important if you are bothered by petal blight, a fungus disease that causes premature wilt of rhododendron and azalea flowers. With petal blight, the blossoms get spots that are sort of watery, then turn brown, and just lie on the plant and are reluctant to fall off. A normal blossom usually wilts while still its normal color and falls off. Petal blight normally doesn't get established early in the season, but later blooming varieties and encore type azaleas are hit from mid-spring through the summer.

Once you have petal blight, it comes back from spores from spent flower petals that were diseased from prior seasons. It is worst in warm weather with heavy rains just before the flower buds open. Hence, it hits late blooming azaleas worst including Encore Azaleas. So the removal and destruction of all diseased spent flowers is very important to control petal blight.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diseases of Azaleas: see Azalea Petal Blight

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:16AM
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Wait but I only pruned off the ones that didn't have any buds set

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:35PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The terminal of every branch has either visible buds, or adventitious buds, ones that you can's see because they haven't started developing. Azaleas only bloom from terminal buds. So when you cut off terminal buds you are removing a future flower. Only the visible ones would produce flowers this year, the others could produce flowers in the future. In evergreen azaleas, flowers and shoots grow from the same terminal buds. In dediduous azaleas, flowers grow from terminal buds and shoots grow from lateral buds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Azaleas

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:48PM
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