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Old 02-04-2018, 09:00 PM
 
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snl - after you rejuvenate an azalea, should you apply fertilizer? Does the amount of sun matter?

Disclosure - I'm a master gardener and I listen to snl's advice about gardening.
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
1,066 posts, read 308,554 times
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Possibly they are also planted too close together. Maybe totally getting rid of every other one to let each bush grow out more naturally. Then get in each bush and thin it out 30-50% to allow more sun into the bush structure which would promote new growth.

I don't have azaleas but planted a row of bushes in my yard. I don't trim them to look like a hedge, like the more natural look but do cut them back drastically every few years and trim out some of the older thicker wood. They always look better, but not until the next year when they get new growth.
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Floribama
12,294 posts, read 27,552,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reactionary View Post
snl - after you rejuvenate an azalea, should you apply fertilizer? Does the amount of sun matter?

Disclosure - I'm a master gardener and I listen to snl's advice about gardening.
I never do, but azaleas grow like weeds down here on the gulf coast, and our soil is naturally acidic. Most of the ones I deal with are indica azaleas like ‘Formosa’ and ‘Pride of Mobile’. Sun or shade doesn’t seem to make a difference. When I do it, it’s usually immediately after flowering, before the heat of summer arrives. By mid-summer they’ll be over 1’ high and the stubs won’t even be visible anymore.


Back in the 1960s-70s people used those big azaleas as foundation shrubs, then after they grew as high as the roof and covered the windows people realized they had a problem . Then later in the 90s people did the same thing again with loropetalum, and I have whacked a few of those to the ground as well.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:25 AM
 
89 posts, read 28,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .sparrow. View Post


Ok, the above is NOT my hedge. However it looks like what I have in my yard. The previous owners cut the azaleas into a hedge like the one above. Over the years we've just kept it trimmed this way because I don't know what else to do with it. How can I get the azaleas OUT of this shape? I just want them to look like normal azaleas all kind of flowing and bush-shaped. Not a rectangle hedge. Whenever I've tried to just ignore the trimming and let them grow out, they look so horrible. They make our house look like an abandoned house... and I end up just going out there and trimming again.

I guess my main question is this.. if I just let them grow, and stop trimming them, will they eventually sort of grow into their natural shape or will they keep growing rectangular?

I know! Really stupid question. But I really don't know. I'm not knowledgeable about hedges at all. I just normally cut the new growth. But these azaleas... I hate that they're this shape. They're not even very tall, only about 3 feet tall.


Please let us know if your azaleas are evergreen or deciduous- the proper planting distance would depend on this.
What is your USDA plant hardiness zone? How much annual precipitation your area has?

1) Once you determine the proper growing distance- could be 3-4 ft apart or 6-8-10 ft apart depending on your azalea type- if they planted too close- I would remove every other one or every 2 to make a proper spacing.
You could do it any time of the year- try to remove roots as much as possible to avoid re- growth- better after heavy rains- their roots generally shallow- cut as much as you can or alternately if you have a strong pair of hands and a good back - you may even re- plant them somewhere else, but transplanting is only possible in spring or fall depending on climate to give them a chance to survive. You even can cut transplants above growth completely, leaving 8-12 inches stubs- they should be able to re grow from them
To make it easier on yourself- tie orange tape around that bush so you do not have to work on the ones you are going to remove if you are not removing them all at once.
Then you need to decide if you want to grow remaining azaleas in a tree form- with single trunk or as a shrub- with 3-5 branches coming from the ground? Your pruning will be different, depending on this as well what type of azalea you have- send a photo ?

Now you may have all the growth on outside of the shrub and no green inside- you need to transition from sheared shrub to natural form like in the graphic below
https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extensio...es/B1065-5.JPG

Start working on the shrubs you keep.
2) First cut all dead, diseased and damaged branches all the way to a healthy branch without leaving a stub- not closer than 1/4” from the bud, but not further than1/4” from it or completely remove dead branches at the ground level.
You should familiarize yourself with proper pruning images from Reputable universities websites: google images using terminology: shearing, heading- you do not want that! Look for that so you understand what NOT to do.
Thinning, rejuvenation pruning, natural form pruning, proper pruning cuts, tree collar, competing branches, crossing branches, 1/3 diameter branch pruning, pruning tools,etc.
Picture is worth a thousand words!!!!

3) Next cut crossing branches which rub against each other or will start rubbing soon. Then cut competing branches which grow in nearly parallel fashion and/or originate very close to each other on the major branches.

4) remove thin weak growth inside the shrub to open it to the sun as well as congested growth.
You may clip the tops of some branches selectively, which could be considered as a heading cut ( though I told you NOT to do it overall, but on SELECT branches it may be needed.
Keep in mind, that when you selectively cut the vertically growing branche- you stimulate the shrub to go wider; if you selectively cut the branch which growt lower on the shrub or growing sideways- you stimulate the tree/ shrub to grow taller- very few people aware of that!

5) remove suckers ( pruning terminology- look it up) if you have specific types of azaleas which produces suckers.
Basically you will be opening the interior of the shrub to the sun.
It is sounds more complicated than it is and very forgiving if you follow recommended by universities proper pruning techniques.
Take a local university extension Master Gardener course or just attend a lecture/ workshop on pruning. Your local library may have a book on pruning- just look at the graphics- it is very easy to understand on the graphics.
https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/...ng-techniques/

Let me know more, I can send you more links, even some of them maybe about pruning trees- proper pruning cuts apply to shrubs as well for their major scaffolding branches, shrubs framework.
Good luck, start slowly on 1 shrub to practice- they very forgiving. Maybe try first on one you are going to remove?
Very important to know that the Best time to prune azaleas right after they finish blooming, though you could do it anytime if your climate is mild : you just lose flowers if you prune it at a different time of the year- they bloom on 1 year old wood.
So if you prune them late in season, they will not bloom the next year, but the year after!
Good luck!

Last edited by Nik4me; 02-05-2018 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:07 PM
 
10,123 posts, read 12,269,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungalove View Post
Just remember, if you prune it early this spring you will have no blooms. The buds started forming shortly after the shrubs bloomed last spring. If you want blooms for the next year, pruning should be done right after the previous year's bloom time.
LOL my grandmother nearly KILLED ME for making that mistake back in the day.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:13 PM
 
10,123 posts, read 12,269,426 times
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I LOVE that hedge.

I don't know WHY you want to change it if you're not a gardener and don't have any skills in it.

You DO realize that the hedge is MUCH less work than all individual plants or whatever it is you think you want, right?

As you found out according to your OP.

Although I have no idea why some homeowner would prune their hedge to 3 foot tall.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:12 PM
 
3 posts, read 257 times
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I do not have a green thumb and am not knowledgeable about kinds of plants on a very large scale but I cut a burning bush down to the ground and the next year it was better than the year before. And a premium landscape artist told me to take a shovel to the roots of my rhododendrons which had not bloomed for years and 'scare' them and the next spring they bloomed beautifully ~ not the entire shrub completely ~ but all over on all sides and increased each year. I don't understand either method nor result but I did it and I saw them bloom with my own eyes.
I think if you don't have good results with the suggestion from finalmove or just for edification I would suggest you go to a reputable nursery and ask them for advice and they should have the aforementioned fertilizer. Gardening takes A LOT of work time and patience and it seems to me that what I want to do should never take as much as any of that as it does. Take some breaks before you give up or maybe a neighbor will want to help for the sake of the neighborhood.
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Old Yesterday, 12:56 AM
 
5,510 posts, read 4,277,956 times
Reputation: 3522
Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
I LOVE that hedge.

I don't know WHY you want to change it if you're not a gardener and don't have any skills in it.

You DO realize that the hedge is MUCH less work than all individual plants or whatever it is you think you want, right?

As you found out according to your OP.

Although I have no idea why some homeowner would prune their hedge to 3 foot tall.
As I said, that's not my hedge.

I don't know WHY you think it is so strange to ask for advice, or try to LEARN something you are unfamiliar with.

Of course I realize it is more work. As it stands right now, all I do is go out there and wack the new growth off with hedge trimmers. I know trying to prune it is going to be more work.

The hedge is short because it is in front of a walkway. It's not part of the main foundation hedges.


Sorry, your post just kind of irked me. lol....
What the heck? I'm just trying to get advice and learn something here.
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Old Yesterday, 12:57 AM
 
5,510 posts, read 4,277,956 times
Reputation: 3522
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybug518TN View Post
I do not have a green thumb and am not knowledgeable about kinds of plants on a very large scale but I cut a burning bush down to the ground and the next year it was better than the year before. And a premium landscape artist told me to take a shovel to the roots of my rhododendrons which had not bloomed for years and 'scare' them and the next spring they bloomed beautifully ~ not the entire shrub completely ~ but all over on all sides and increased each year. I don't understand either method nor result but I did it and I saw them bloom with my own eyes.
I think if you don't have good results with the suggestion from finalmove or just for edification I would suggest you go to a reputable nursery and ask them for advice and they should have the aforementioned fertilizer. Gardening takes A LOT of work time and patience and it seems to me that what I want to do should never take as much as any of that as it does. Take some breaks before you give up or maybe a neighbor will want to help for the sake of the neighborhood.

LOL!! That put a hilarious picture in my head.
Too funny. Glad it worked!
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Old Yesterday, 01:01 AM
 
5,510 posts, read 4,277,956 times
Reputation: 3522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nik4me View Post
Please let us know if your azaleas are evergreen or deciduous- the proper planting distance would depend on this.
What is your USDA plant hardiness zone? How much annual precipitation your area has?

1) Once you determine the proper growing distance- could be 3-4 ft apart or 6-8-10 ft apart depending on your azalea type- if they planted too close- I would remove every other one or every 2 to make a proper spacing.
You could do it any time of the year- try to remove roots as much as possible to avoid re- growth- better after heavy rains- their roots generally shallow- cut as much as you can or alternately if you have a strong pair of hands and a good back - you may even re- plant them somewhere else, but transplanting is only possible in spring or fall depending on climate to give them a chance to survive. You even can cut transplants above growth completely, leaving 8-12 inches stubs- they should be able to re grow from them
To make it easier on yourself- tie orange tape around that bush so you do not have to work on the ones you are going to remove if you are not removing them all at once.
Then you need to decide if you want to grow remaining azaleas in a tree form- with single trunk or as a shrub- with 3-5 branches coming from the ground? Your pruning will be different, depending on this as well what type of azalea you have- send a photo ?

Now you may have all the growth on outside of the shrub and no green inside- you need to transition from sheared shrub to natural form like in the graphic below
https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extensio...es/B1065-5.JPG

Start working on the shrubs you keep.
2) First cut all dead, diseased and damaged branches all the way to a healthy branch without leaving a stub- not closer than 1/4” from the bud, but not further than1/4” from it or completely remove dead branches at the ground level.
You should familiarize yourself with proper pruning images from Reputable universities websites: google images using terminology: shearing, heading- you do not want that! Look for that so you understand what NOT to do.
Thinning, rejuvenation pruning, natural form pruning, proper pruning cuts, tree collar, competing branches, crossing branches, 1/3 diameter branch pruning, pruning tools,etc.
Picture is worth a thousand words!!!!

3) Next cut crossing branches which rub against each other or will start rubbing soon. Then cut competing branches which grow in nearly parallel fashion and/or originate very close to each other on the major branches.

4) remove thin weak growth inside the shrub to open it to the sun as well as congested growth.
You may clip the tops of some branches selectively, which could be considered as a heading cut ( though I told you NOT to do it overall, but on SELECT branches it may be needed.
Keep in mind, that when you selectively cut the vertically growing branche- you stimulate the shrub to go wider; if you selectively cut the branch which growt lower on the shrub or growing sideways- you stimulate the tree/ shrub to grow taller- very few people aware of that!

5) remove suckers ( pruning terminology- look it up) if you have specific types of azaleas which produces suckers.
Basically you will be opening the interior of the shrub to the sun.
It is sounds more complicated than it is and very forgiving if you follow recommended by universities proper pruning techniques.
Take a local university extension Master Gardener course or just attend a lecture/ workshop on pruning. Your local library may have a book on pruning- just look at the graphics- it is very easy to understand on the graphics.
https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/...ng-techniques/

Let me know more, I can send you more links, even some of them maybe about pruning trees- proper pruning cuts apply to shrubs as well for their major scaffolding branches, shrubs framework.
Good luck, start slowly on 1 shrub to practice- they very forgiving. Maybe try first on one you are going to remove?
Very important to know that the Best time to prune azaleas right after they finish blooming, though you could do it anytime if your climate is mild : you just lose flowers if you prune it at a different time of the year- they bloom on 1 year old wood.
So if you prune them late in season, they will not bloom the next year, but the year after!
Good luck!

That is a LOT of information. How very nice of you to post all of that.
Thank you very much. I am saving all this info for reference.

You guys are all seriously awesome.
Once this project is underway (in the Spring) I will probably bump this thread back up to let you all know how it went. Hopefully, it will be good news, if not...I'll be posting a "OMG! I killed all of my azaleas!" thread. (just kidding)
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