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Old 04-14-2012, 10:54 PM
578 posts, read 1,143,444 times
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I've got a group of flowering azalea bushes in my front yard. Two winters ago, before we moved it, there was a really rough, record breaking winter, and the snows caused a LOT of damage.

After two years, the bushes are trying to come back. I'm going to prune away the dead wood, but... one one bush, the dead wood is 75% of the bush. Is there a chance that the bush will come back? I'm thinking it's too late for it, I was thinking about tearing that one out and planting something else. Not sure what.

I love the look of the flowering bushes, but I also love variegated hostas. Could I put hostas in nest to azaleas? Not sure how to repair the landscaping here.

I'm in northern Delaware, I'm sure that makes a difference.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:10 AM
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
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Carrie, I'm in Arkansas so this may not help, and I'm sure I'm completely wrong....my grandmother-in-law sustained severe damage to her azaleas a number of years ago. They were HUGE - 5 feet or more - and she cut those suckers almost to the ground, maybe a foot tall. Everyone stroked out...the next year they started coming back bigger and better than ever, and now a few years later you cannot tell they were ever touched. If you've lost 75% of the bush to damage, I can't tell that a hard prune is going to make that much difference since you may end up replacing it anyway. Give it a season and see what happens? We prune ours right after they die off and I don't know where you are on the bloom scale

As far as hostas, yes - well, for us, anyway - that's pretty much what all Southern gardens have - azaleas and a ton of hostas. I don't know if you are talking about the white or yellow variegated hostas, though - or what your light is like in these gardens.

Might try this link - looks interesting:

DVHS Home Page
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:54 AM
Location: Yellow cottage, green doors.
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Aren't azaleas one of the plants that prefer an acidic soil?
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rainroosty View Post
Aren't azaleas one of the plants that prefer an acidic soil?
I'm not sure how that answers the question or if you are asking if Hosta will do alright....?? Preferred soil for Hosta is slightly acidic if that is your worry. Azaleas thrive in slightly acidic soils as well.

Sam I Am was on the right track. I had bad damage to several of my reblooming types 2 winters ago. Cut all the azaleas back to healthy wood and get rid of anything that is dry and breakable. Then try to cut back anything that is way off kilter to keep the new growth even across the whole shrub. Give it a month and you should see new growth emerge all over. It may take a full year but the azaleas should come back. The one with 75% damage may take a little longer, but if it doesn't seem to be responding you may want to yank it.

Hosta can be quite showy and large depending on the variety you get. Once established they make a great garden display in part shade/part sun environments. The only drawback is the azaleas give you some year round presence where Hosta die back to the ground every fall.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:11 PM
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Use coffe grounds.
The Azaleas love them.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:42 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Azaleas are hard to kill. Son hit one with a mower. Nothing left. It came right back.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:54 AM
Location: U.S.
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We had the same happen two winters ago now. I am in CT and we got hit pretty hard that winter with snow/ice. Anyway, had quite a bit of damage to a lot of shrubs. Most are recovering nicely. I had one azalea that was pretty much just one stick left that wasn't cracked or broken off that took the brunt. It actually came back pretty nicely. By the end of last season it was about 8-12 inches and had some new growth. this spring it actually already flowered and is looking good. It will take a few years to be a good height, but i can wait!
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:47 PM
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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When we moved into our present home, the azalea bushes were at least 5' tall and probably double that width. They flowered each spring, and had lots of foliage through the summer, but it was only the very outer layer--the entire interior of the bush was brown and dead. A few years back, I hacked them down to about 18" tall, figuring that either way, it had to be an improvement. What a difference! I had gorgeous full blooms that next spring, and while they are growing a bit each year, they are nowhere near the overgrown mess that they had been a few years back. This year, the holly bushes will be trimmed down to the ground--hope they come back as nicely as the azaleas..
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