I love Azaleas and Rhododendrons and my yard is full of them. They are so easy to grow here in the Pacific Northwest.
One is this light shade of salmon.
The other one is a bit darker with coral overtones. When these plants bloom they are breathtaking in the spring.
Okay one problem, they don’t look very nice the rest of the year. Ever since we moved in nine years ago, we have had branches just die off on the top of each of the Azaleas. If you click on the very top picture you can see how ugly they really look. They become quite straggly and covered in lichens. The photo above shows you how they looked yesterday before I started cutting, yes, cutting. Over the last few years we have been gradually removing all the dead growth. What we were surprised to see is all the new growth shooting out from the base. This year the lower shoots bloomed! Now I knew that the plant would be okay with some hard pruning.
So I got my pruning saw and loppers out and removed all the top growth leaving this main branch in the middle. Would I cut it to the ground?
On closer inspection of the main branch, I spotted some new growth so I lopped the stem off just above this point being careful not to injure the new growth.
This is the end result on one of the Azaleas. I keep walking by and thinking,”Wow, that’s short!”
This is the second one with part of a main stem still left. Hubby wanted me to leave it. I think he thought I was killing the plants but I know I will be rewarded with a more vigorous plant. Once the second plant develops some more growth the thicker stems will be removed.