azalea pruning - Knowledgebase Question

Decatur, Ge
Avatar for pbrucedesign
Question by pbrucedesign
February 18, 2010
today (Feb 18) I relocated 7 almost dead azaleas from the front of my house to to side; it will not be as sunny in the summer; should I trim them back (they are alive, but with many long stems, leafless, mostly); when is the best time to fertilize them and with what? Are roots slightly exposed or slightly below the dirt?Thanks

Answer from NGA
February 18, 2010
There are some exceptions, but for the most part, azaleas prefer shady growing conditions. When you transplant, the entire root mass should be below the soil surface. In fact, they should be sitting at the same soil level as they were growing before the move. Azaleas spend the summer developing flower buds for the following spring's floral display so they are traditionally pruned immediately after flowering. If you don't see flower buds on the stems they can be pruned back. If you do see flower buds, you can wait until the flowers are spent to do your pruning. The general rule of thumb is to prune no more than about one third of the live plant material in any annual pruning session. Feed each spring with a specially formulated Rhododendron/Azalea plant food, in amounts as listed on the label. Best wishes with your azaleas.

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