If you love azaleas, you probably wish yours were as beautiful as those seen behind the professional golfers at the Masters Tournament. With proper pruning, you too can grow compact, healthy and attractive azaleas that flower abundantly.
By pruning as needed, you can improve the plant's appearance, reduce the size of overgrown plants, remove diseased and dead wood and increase the number of flowers an azalea produces.
Since many azaleas begin to set flower buds during the month of July, pruning after early July may reduce next year's flower production. Therefore, plan to prune as soon as this year’s blooms are gone.
Compact plants can be maintained with minimal effect on flower production.
Pruning is just one aspect of azalea care. For a detailed publication on selecting and growing azaleas, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or visit the website www.caes.uga.edu/publications/ and search for the keyword “azalea.”
(Frank Watson is the University of Georgia Extension agent in Wilkes County, Ga.)