The Q&A Archives: Dead Looking Azalea Branches

Question: Several of my azaleas have green leaves appearing on some lower branches, but the upper and outer branches have brown or burgandy leaves. Are these outer branches dead? If so, how and when do I prune? What happened to kill them and what can I do to prevent this again?

Answer: Cold weather may well have killed the branches back, especially if the leaves are reddish (a sign of cold-weather damage). Prune back the dead looking branches to encourage healthy new growth over the summer months. You'll sacrifice some bloom by pruning back now, but the stressed branches may not have produced flowers anyway, so you may not be losing much. All you can do to prevent cold weather damage in the future is cover the susceptible shrubs during cold snaps - or hope for a mild winter!

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