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Azalea trimming (old untidy species in need of clean up)

I have never grown azalea plants before, but in our new house we moved in few years ago we have few as a frontal hedge. They seem pretty old and perhaps even at the peak of their size.

In general, I'm all for natural look and don't shape my shrubs ... however these seem a bit too untidy when they are not on full bloom. They have many branches that remind spider legs just sticking out randomly. Thin, long and leafless for most part. 

So as flowers start to fade I thought I'd ask for an advice on how to deal with these.
Basically, when do I have a go at trimming them and where to end a cut? Are they trimmed in a same way as rhododendrons perhaps or rather like a hedge?

Any advice is appreciated. 
I would really love to get rid of spidery parts and have the holes left by trimming fill up if possible. 

Thank you! 


  • KimHollKimHoll Posts: 2
    Trim back as much as you need after flowering. They are quite forgiving plants. Once you have them the size you want, don't forget you will still need to deadhaed after flowering if you want a good show.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,221
    Those are Japanese Azaleas and rarely need pruning as they're slow growing and don't make the large sizes that the deciduous types , or Rhododendrons, make. They have a lower, more spreading habit.
    Having said that, you can certainly remove any dead branches, or ones that look unhealthy. Mulching after watering helps them retain moisture [bark is ideal] and being close to the wall and the grass, they may be drier, even in wetter weather. More competition. 
    Other than that, they need very little attention.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • You may find this article interesting.

    It covers the renovation process involved with the sensitive management azaleas within an historic part of the Valley Gardens in Windsor Great Park. Though lengthy, you will see towards the end of the piece the images of the azaleas, extremely hard pruned, and the resulting growth that summer.

    Sometimes you have to be bold if the plants in question are not performing as you would wish them to.
  • FlyDragonFlyDragon Posts: 834
    I have three of these that are pretty mature and about as big as they're ever going to get, I find that they do occasionally send out a random straggly branch and I just trim them back as and when.  They are very forgiving as KimHoll says. 
  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Posts: 203
    Thank you so much everyone for replies and that article! Definitely puts me at ease before tackling the pruning! 
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