In pruning old azaleas, is radical renovation too scary? by Susan Harris

mchimp1b-001I sent my first New Videos! e-blast this week, featuring 14 videos added to Good Gardening Videos since its launch last month. Two of those videos teach azalea-pruning, but from different perspectives.

Woody-plant specialist Phil Normany demonstrates going all the way down to the ground, being bold and trusting that the shrub will come back after that assault fuller and healthier than it’s been in years. Phil’s in charge of Lord knows how many azaleas at Brookside Gardens, so he outta know if it works or not. Watch Phil.

Then there’s Cass Turnbull, top pruning expert at “Plant Amnesty: Working to End the Senseless Torture and Mutilation of Trees and Shrubs.” She says evergreen azaleas are “really agreeable” to pruning and suggests several methods, adding that “If you have to, you can radically renovate it by cutting it to two inches off the ground in the spring. That’s kind of scary, though. You need to know what you’re doing before you do a radical renovation.” Here’s Cass,

mchimp1a-001So which is it?  Easy-peasy, or boy, you’d better know what you’re doing! Me, I take the middle path, I guess, choosing to wuss-out and remove a third to a half of the stems each year over two or three years. I’m not a patient person – ask anyone who knows me – but I try to garden like one.

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In pruning old azaleas, is radical renovation too scary? originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 8, 2016.


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