Lawn & Garden

Radio: Pruning Azaleas

Late spring is the time to sit back and admire those azaleas as they bloom; azaleas add a veritable explosion of color to any garden this time of year. If you didn't prune your plants back before they bloomed, you have another chance to do some trimming now.

Listen to ON PRUNING AZALEAS or read the text below:

Pruning while an azalea is in bloom gives you beautiful cuttings to bring inside, and prepares your plant for a better bloom next year.

To start, take a critical look at the azalea and identify dead or woody branches, branches that don't get enough sun, and branches that stick out at odd angles from the main plant. Those should come off right away. Then trim branches to create a pleasing shape. Cutting long branches back to the base will force new growth next year from the bottom, ensuring that your plant continues to develop a lush, full shape.

Be sure your pruner is clean and sharp to avoid jagged cuts. And if you miss the spring pruning season, don't be tempted to cut back the plant later in the summer. Cutting an azalea too late in the year makes it vulnerable to damage over the winter.

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For more on gardening, consider:

Radio: Cleaning Plant Containers
Fresh Flowers: 10 New Annuals for 2013
We Heart Azaleas: Top Tips on Care