How do you prune an azalea?
1) Remove all leaves from the topmost branch.
2) Cut off the bottom branches leaving only one branch left with two leaves at its base.
(You may need to cut it down further if there are other branches growing up.)
3) Trim away any dead or diseased wood around the trunk.
Leave just enough room so that roots can grow through it easily.
4) If necessary, remove some of the foliage around the base of the tree.
But don’t worry too much about it since most will die back naturally anyway.
5) Now you have a new trunk!
The above steps are called rejuvenation pruning and they are done to keep your plant healthy and vigorous during its dormant period. After the dormant period is over, you’ll want to start watering regularly again.
What happens if I don’t prune my azaleas?
If you don’t prune your azaleas, then they will eventually get out of control and produce large amounts of flowers which attract insects and moths. These pests cause damage to your plants, especially those that are not protected against them. They also spread diseases such as powdery mildew. If you prune your plants on a regular basis, then this will not happen.
How do you prune an azalea bush?
1) Cut the plant back by one-third or one-half of its size.
This can be done at any time of the year and will help promote lush and full growth.
2) If your plants are more than five years old, then you should remove all the dead wood from your plant.
This involves cutting out all the brown branches and twigs. The goal is to remove anything that is dead or dying.
3) Cut back any diseased or damaged wood to sound wood.
Be careful not to cut back to far since you do not want to damage the inner parts of the plant and kill it.
4) You should also keep the top part of your plant relatively short.
This will promote bushiness and more branching.
5) Be sure to thin out the center of the plant.
This will allow enough light and air to reach all areas of your plant.
6) Prune back any weak or damaged shoots.
These will be easily identified since they are smaller in diameter and lighter in color than the others. You can also tell because they will not bud back after you cut them.
7) If you are inexperienced, then it is a good idea to have an experienced friend look over your pruning job to make sure that you did it correctly.
Does cutting back my plant really make that much of a difference?
Many people wonder if the above tips actually make that much difference or if it is really worth their time. The answer is yes and here’s why. When you prune your plant back to its rootstock every year, it keeps it in a more or less permanent state of juvenile growth. This means that it will always be shorter and more compact, but also much fuller than if you neglected to prune it at all. This allows for maximum light exposure on all sides, which leads to a much healthier plant that is less susceptible to disease and insect damage.
Pruning your plants also keeps them full and lush looking year round. If you notice any diseased or dead wood, be sure to remove it at once. This will eventually spread to threaten the life of your plant.
The low-down on Fertilization
Did you know that fertilizing your plant at the wrong time of year can actually damage and stress it?
The best time to fertilize your plant is in the Fall, when night temperatures begin to drop. This is the time when plants prepare for the winter and begin storing nutrients in their roots and leaves.
Most plants only require a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, which is sufficient to meet the needs of most plants. High nitrogen fertilizers are not required since it’s best to apply them only when they are needed.
How much and how often should I fertilize my plants?
Most experts recommend that you fertilize your plants once every six months. They also suggest that you should never apply more than 1/4 strength of the recommended amount on the fertilizer container. Always read the directions and follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.
How do I fertilize my plants?
Once you have decided to fertilize your plants, you will need to obtain the fertilizer and a measuring device, such as a spoon. You will need to carefully read the instructions on the container and follow them exactly, since improper application can damage or even kill your plants.
You will need to apply an even layer of fertilizer around the base of the plant near the roots. Water it in well so that it penetrates the surrounding soil. After this, you should see results in 6-8 weeks.
What is root pruning and is it necessary for my plant?
Most plants require root pruning to maintain their health. This is the process of removing dead roots and weak roots.
How do I root prune my plant?
The first step is to get some gardening clippers. Most people prefer to use scissors since they can easily get into small crevasses and make the cuts more precise. Next you will need to find a sturdy table or work area, as clippers can be tricky to use for some people.
Once you have your equipment in place, find a sturdy branch that has weak and dead looking branches. These are usually brown in color and very brittle. It’s important to choose a branch that is at the perfect height so that when you prune it, it will fall straight down and not cause too much of a mess.
When ready, gently grab the branch with one hand and slowly begin to cut through it about 1 inch below where the healthy wood begins. Once this is done, slowly begin to remove the branch from the tree. As you do this, be sure it is falling in a safe place and not on anyone or anything that could be damaged by it.
As soon as the branch hits the ground, it will shrivel up and be useless to your plant. This is a natural process that occurs in nature when trees are pruned in the wild.
How much root pruning is too much?
It is important to remember that you should not over-prune your plant. Over-pruning can cause your plant to become weak and more susceptible to disease or insects. Most plants can withstand the pruning of up to 1/3 of its branches and limbs. After this point, it begins to weaken the plant and shorten its life span.
Repotting your plant
The time will come when your plant has outgrown its pot. This may be due to a variety of factors such as:
Your plant is growing more rapidly than expected.
The current pot is too small to allow the roots to grow appropriately.
The pot itself is broken or rotting.
Whatever the reason, repotting your plant is a simple operation that requires only a few minutes and can vastly improve the health of your plant.
When should I repot my plant?
It is important that you do not over-repot your plants. Most plants may be repotted once every two years. Some plants, such as the African violet or orchid, require repotting every year. Read the tag that came with your plant to see how often you should repot it.
It is best to do this in the spring time when the days are longer. This will give your plant the light it needs to grow after being repotted.
What do I need to repot my plant?
To repot your plant you will need a new pot that is a similar size to your old pot. It is best if this pot has good drainage. You will also need some soil for your new pot. If you bought your plant in a nursery, they may give you some with the plant or you can buy some later.
What is top dressing?
If your plant has been in the same pot for over a year, it can begin to languish and not grow as vigorously as it once did. This can be due to a build up of salts in the soil. Rinsing the soil can help fix this problem, but repotting is the best solution.
When you repot your plant, you may notice a thin layer of white powder on top of the soil.
Sources & references used in this article:
Pruning evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs/1033 (rev. Dec. 1971) by FA Giles, WB Siefert – Circular/University of Illinois at Urbana …, 1971 – ideals.illinois.edu
The Complete Guide to Pruning Trees and Bushes: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply by KO Morgan – 2011 – books.google.com
Pruning ornamentals by CB Cordy – 1959 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu