azalea novice could use some advice

arbordayle(6 PA)July 11, 2008

I have several large 12 yr old evergreen azaleas. If I remember correctly, the name is Dorothy Haydn. Except for some fertilizer in spring and occasional light pruning, I have basically ignored these plants and they have always performed beautifully. This year I noticed quite a few dead branches and they seem to be struggling. It is too late in the season for major pruning, so I was just outside pruning off some of the dead branches. I noticed that quite a few of the lower branches have rooted in the ground. A couple of questions for any azaleas experts out there:

Is there anything I should do now to try and revive these plants? I would hate to lose them- these azaleas are late bloomers and play a major role in my early summer mixed border. If not now, how about in the fall or next spring.

Also, can I separate the rooted branches and establish new plants? If so, when would be the best time to do this?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Your Dorothy Hayden azaleas are Robin Hill hybrids that usually stay mounded and compact, little to no pruning required. If you do wish to guide their shape, best done immediately after blooming, and of course it's always a good idea to remove anything dead or damaged immediately so as not to offer a foothold for secondary disease or insects.

Keeping them mulched to conserve moisture and cool the root zone helps, if they are struggling, have they had enough water in the last several months? Not tolerant of drought...

Wait till the weather cools some before attempting to move any 'plantlets' that have self layered. You could move or pot them up this Fall, or even wait till early Spring if your winters are harsh. Use pruners to cut them from the parents, plant no deeper than they were growing while still attached to the main plant.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:36PM
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arbordayle(6 PA)

Thanks for the info. You're right, they have stayed compact all these years with very little pruning and the white flowers are very large, blooming over several weeks in early June. I think I'll wait until next spring to move the plantlets.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 8:32AM
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