The Q&A Archives: Dying Azalea

Question: I recently removed a large green-leaf shrub from my garden. An azalea that had once been a nice large shrub was next to it, but half of it has died because the large shrub had been taking all of the sunlight. I removed as many of the dead branches and brittle twigs from the middle of the azalea as possible. My question is, does this Azalea have a chance for a full recovery? Is there anything I can do to help it along? I'd rather not remove it, but it looks odd now with all the dead branches gone. The azalea is against the North side of our house.

Answer: It sounds like removing the other shrub should give your azalea a chance to recover nicely. It should begin to fill back in this year and regain a more normal shape. There may have been some root disturbance when you removed the neighboring shrub, so the best things you can do for the azalea this year are to make sure it has a few inches of nice organic mulch and a moist (not soggy) root area if it doesn't rain. You might also give it some granular fertilizer for acid loving plants as indicated in the label instructions. (Do not be tempted to over feed it however -- this would do more harm than good.) If you wish to even it out a bit, prune it lightly immediately after it blooms. In my experience, azaleas recover from this type of situation very nicely.

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