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heavy pruning of azaleas

Posted by bmarshall (My Page) on
Mon, May 25, 09 at 15:20

I have several large old azaleas in the front of my house (North side) that I just heavily pruned b/c of lots of holes and spindly growth. I clipped out most of the twiggy and dead branches from the middle and also sheared a few inches for height. They look pretty silly right now, with little or no leaves on the sides and just a thin layer of green on top. But I'm hoping now that they have better air circulation and sunlight can reach the base, they'll start to fill themselves in. Will this work to rejuvenate them, or have I just set them up for more leggy growth habit? I'm tempted to cut them all the way back to a foot, but they are my only evergreens in the front of my house.

Thanks for any advice.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: heavy pruning of azaleas

If they have enough light, they will fill out as much as the variety you have can fill out.

Now would be a good time to apply a little Hollytone. I would use it at half the rate on the package just this one time this year and maybe once again next spring.

You did the right thing by opening up the center and allowing air flow. You can assist the filing in by cutting back new top growth so that the lower sections fill in faster.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow rhododendrons and azaleas.

RE: heavy pruning of azaleas

Next year, if you have not been satisfied with the response of your azaleas, you really should cut them back to a foot or less from the soil level. Azaleas, as long as they are in reasonable health in the first place, respond beautifully to rejuvenation pruning. Depending upon the kind of azaleas they are, they could grow three feet of lush new growth the very first season.

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