pruning, not shaping, azaleas
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.