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Did I Prune My Azaleas Correctly?
Ask the Expert:Help !!! azalea problem
After my azaleas blooming..I pruned them...some just a little be but I've a couple of them to big so I decided to prune a lot but I concerned that wasn't a good idea, please see the pictures. the wood looks dark. Thanks for your help Elsa
Plant Expert Reply:
I am assuming that your Azaleas are deciduous and not evergreen. Either way you did the right thing by pruning them after they finished blooming.Â All azaleas whether deciduous or evergreen will have dormant buds that will leaf out after a plant has been pruned. So the important thing is to give your plant shape as you prune it.
To keep your azalea full and attractive, you need to make sure light gets to the plant from top to bottom. To do this make sure your plant is like a pear shaped woman - narrow towards the top and fuller towards the bottom.Â After a severe pruning it will take shrubs a couple of weeks to leaf back out. In fact, I just butchered the shrubs at my house. By my Memorial day party, they will be flushed back out.
I did notice that a few of your branches have winter damage. If these branch do not leaf out in the next couple of weeks, prune them back to the point where the leaves have flushed.
Now would also be a good time to fertilize them. A good rule of thumb for feeding azaleas is AA - April through August once a month.Â In some areas you can start fertilizing sooner and extend the feeding a month longer.
I recommend a slow release fertilizer blended for azaleas. I use an azalea fertilizer than contains a systemic insecticide as well. This will keep the azaleas happy and healthy. Your local garden center and nursery should carry the azalea fertilizer they need. You can ask for Fertilome Azalea/Evergreen Food Plus with systemic or something similar.