pruning, not shaping, azaleas

sorefeet70June 16, 2008

I've moved into a house with several established, shaped azaleas in the yard. None seem over knee high and have been shaped, which is a little too formal for my taste. They are lush on the tops, but the wood inside is hard. Unfortunately, one is dead on an entire half side. I would like to prune them back to a more "natural" appearance, yet keep the size to 3 - 4 feet over the next 5 years. I'm tempted to start thinning the wood inside the bush, and keep about 1/2 of the plant "as is" to allow some growing power. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The guidelines when pruning are:

Remove all dead wood.

Open up the plant so that air can flow through the plant.

Remove one branch whenever branches cross.

Prune soon. If you wait much longer you will be removing flower buds.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:51PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

If these have been maintained in a formal shape and you prefer more natural growth, it's perfectly reasonable to selectvely remove some of the stems to begin to open up the shape. Feel free to remove anything dead, twiggy or weak or even major branches if their absence would help to establish a more basic framework. Sharp pruners, immediately after bloom has finished.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:51PM
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