Fertilize After Pruning?

iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)May 9, 2009

This morning, after browsing the excellent advice given on this site, DH and I gave the azaleas that had swallowed the west end of the house a severe pruning.

Should we now fertilize them to promote vigorous new growth?

My thought was that they'd benefit from some kind of feeding followed by the application of a good mulch of pine straw (I'm in the Sandhills where the longleaf pines grow so I just have to rake it from one part of the yard to another).

Am I on the right track?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The mulch is a good idea, conserves moisture and cools the root zone.

How did they look before pruning? These are not heavy feeders and it's better to fertilize in response to symptoms - especially if you are growing in soil with the correct (acidic) ph. If well established, they could easily produce vigorous new growth on their own with no intervention from you.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:47PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Except for one spindly one that had been badly crowded by equally overgrown hollies, they were rampantly, outrageously healthy. We have a good dozen baby azaleas to dig up where branches had rooted.

This is the before picture -- beautiful, but we couldn't see out of any of the windows on that end of the house.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 7:12PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I don't think they need fertilizer :)

They look like lovely plants, and similar to what was growing at/over the front window of the home my brother had in Oregon - how large is your lot? I ask because problem is, healthy and well established, these will likely reach their pre-pruning size in fewer years than you would guess and you'll be cutting back again. Another alternative would be to move them at some point to where their height isn't an issue - away from the window - and replant that bed with something lower growing.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 9:23PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

They are far too large to move without a backhoe. The stumps remaining after the severe pruning are over a yard across -- all that pink was only 2 bushes.

I wish that the people who build houses would give some thought to the eventual size of the cute, little, gallon-pot plants they plunk into utterly inadequate spaces.

This isn't the first place we've had massively over-grown, misplaced plants to cope with.

At this point with these azaleas we can only plan on attempting to keep them in check with annual pruning after they regrow.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:34PM
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