28june10pruneazalea Time to Prune the Azaleas

by KYW’s Phran Novelli

OK, that’s enough of that — stuff that’s sticking out, bits that didn’t bloom, branches that didn’t look so good after the winter and now looks even worse.  You’re running out of time to prune your azaleas. 

You want to prune azaleas and other spring flowering shrubs after they bloom but before they make flower buds for next year.  The Fourth of July is a deadline many gardeners use — because if you prune much later, you won’t get many flowers next spring.

Most of the azaleas in our yard are pretty old — planted by previous owners decades ago — and after sitting under heavy snows for weeks this winter, they looked lousy in March.

But I held off on pruning to see how they’d do, and surprisingly, most of them bloomed beautifully.

A few branches clearly died, so I’m lopping those off, which will leave a few holes. But pruning encourages the plant to send out new shoots that will grow all summer and fall and start filling those bare spots before you know it.

(Photo: by Phran Novelli)

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