Return to the Georgia Gardener Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Overgrown old azaleas

Posted by telx2 (My Page) on
Wed, May 26, 10 at 13:54

I've been in my house in Roswell for 2 summers now and have really let a row of azaleas in the backyard go. I'd like to keep them as they are at the end of a flat area in the back and beyond them is a pretty steep down slope into the woods. However, I'd like to clean the area up a bit for some usable backyard space and currently then bushes are taller than I am and each bush is as wide as it is tall (well over 5 feet.) I know that if I wack them back now they won't bloom next spring, but I really don't care. What I would like to know is:

1 - Do you think they will survive being cut down to 2'?
2 - Will they return to this size in one season or will it take several years (in a shady spot)?

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone has!


PS - These bloom pink only in the spring and I believe they were put in when the place was built 30 years ago. Nothing fancy about these plants like encores!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Overgrown old azaleas

1. Yes, we used to cut ours down to a 2 ft ball every year right after they bloomed and they always came back full and lush and beautiful.
2. Probabaly..... but if not, definitely by the 2nd year.

I'd trim them soon though.


RE: Overgrown old azaleas

This is a good time to cut them back. The rule is after they bloom, but before August when the buds for next year are set. You may not get as good a bloom next year, but the following year should be fine. If they are over your head, I wouldn't take them down to two feet. I think the rule of thumb is to not take off more than a third at a time. So if they are 6 feet tall, take them down 2 feet to 4 feet, then next year you can take 1/3 of that. I don't think they will put on that much growth in one year.

RE: Overgrown old azaleas

Thanks for the advice. Hopefully in a couple weeks I will have taken back this part of my property!

RE: Overgrown old azaleas

I cut some back that were about 30 or 40 years old. They were about 5 feet tall. I cut them back to about 2 feet tall. They looked very scraggly for about 3 years, but are finally getting leafy again.

From an interview with Parker Andes from Callaway Gardens:

Pruning to Rejuvenate

"This is probably my favorite job," said Parker. "When an azalea is way too tall or badly misshapen, if I see vigorous growth at the base, I know I can make it look ten times better in a minute or two."

He demonstrated on an old azalea that resembled a leafy umbrella standing in the woods. There were several sprouts at the base, struggling to reach the sunshine blocked by the leaves above. With three cuts, the azalea went from six feet tall to eighteen inches high.

Here is a link that might be useful: Azaleas Summer Pruning

RE: Overgrown old azaleas

I have a hedge row of Kurume Azaleas on a NW street corner, that became overgrown, up to 7 ft. tall, with no foliage on the lower 4-5 ft.
Last June, I cut them down to 18", with nothing but bare stubs remaining. They are now covered with foliage and about half had numerous flowers this spring. I am expecting some flowers this fall, as they usually bloom twice each year.
During the severe freeze in January 1985, I had to cut the Southern Indicas off at ground level. All returned and grew to normal size within a few years.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Georgia Gardener Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here