Perhaps your azaleas have grown too tall or wide for the landscape. If you ever thought of giving them a trimming now is the time. If you wait much longer flower buds forming for next spring might be pruned from the plants.
Gardeners should get in the habit of periodically pruning azaleas to remove diseased and declining stems. It's also a good idea every few years to remove some of the older wood that allows new stems room to grow from the base of the plants.
Start the trimmings by removing stems that need to be cut back to the ground. Also cut out the thin and spindly shoots. Complete the pruning by cutting the plants back to about a foot below the desired height. Then follow these steps to encourage new growth and flowers by spring.
- Maintain a moist site watering when the surface inch of soil begins to dry to the touch.
- Feed once in May, August and October with an azalea fertilizer or similar product.
- Maintain a 2- to 3-inch mulch layer over the root system.
- Control lace bugs as needed with a natural oil spray.
- As new growth begins refrain from pruning all but lanky and extra long shoots.
Azaleas usually do not need major pruning every year. Often just removing a few extra long growths and pinching out the tips of shoots can be used to keep the plants compact and attractive.