How should I Prune my Azaleas?
Hey, I moved into a new house that has some rather unkempt Azaleas growing in front of it, and along the driveway. I have no experience with Azaleas, but I really want to trim the suckers back a little so that they don't block the view of the house and strangle out the landscaping in front of them.
Here are the Azaleas by the driveway:
And the ones in front of the house:
I've read that certain species of Azalea only do well at certain heights, so first I want to know if keeping these things at a level an inch or two below the fence makes sense(apprx. 4' fence). Second, I've read that my choices are either rejuvenation pruning or the 1/3 a year method. The 1/3 method is out because I need to lower these suckers now. Rejuvenation pruning would be okay, but it just seams very drastic, and of course this late in the season it doesn't seem ideal. I've read in a few places that you can hedge clip azaleas, and that seems like what I would like to do, but I don't know if that would work with this species, and I also don't know if I should hedge clip them to the desired height, or clip them below that so the new chutes grow up to that height. So I guess I just want some advice.
I want these bushes an inch or two below the level of my fence, and maybe cut back by about 6", does that sound achievable, does it make sense for these azaleas, and how would I do it?
Here are some close-up pictures if it will help identify the variety of azalea I have: