19288RE: [AZ] RE: Question
- Nov 5, 2013
While I have a lot of respect for you, I have to take exception with your statement that pruning after bloom is “sefish”. Yes pruning before bloom might save a little energy that the plant could put into growth, but I really doubt that pruning right after bloom really would make a lot of difference in what that same plant looks like in October following pruning. You also don’t have to wait until mid-June to trim and still see the flowers that is unless the azalea is very late flowering which is probably not the case in most instances.
I make this statement after nearly 60 years of experience growing rhododendrons and azaleas, not from theory. The National Arboretum could not get all of the pruning done at one time and it was best for them to start early on plants that looked bad anyway.
The email address that shows below of Lynda.Stockslager@... If course cannot be delivered if put in the “cc” field.
The normal response is to wait until after they bloom, but that is selfish and not what is best for the plant. The best time to prune rhododendrons and azaleas is in March since this gives 2 extra months for regrowth. Pruning after mid-June can remove some of the next year's flower buds and results in poor regrowth. If one is cutting back an overgrown plant and doesn't want to loose all of the flowers, then leave some of the buds when pruning, and prune those branches back the following March.
Recently the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, got money to improve its badly overgrown collection of Glenn Dale Azaleas. They had to come up with a plan that would be best for this priceless collection. This is what they did.
Reading, PA USA, Zone 6
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We live in Wilmington NC, and have acquired a lot of very old, large, unkept azaleas when we purchased our house.
Instead of being pretty they have become an eyesore, and are in need of some major pruning.
A local tree company says we should cut them back in December, however I keep reading mixed comments.
Please advise before we make a mistake!
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