New Azalea Ruff stock

Mike423

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Hey everyone thought I would share one of my new projects. I purchased this Azalea from Home Depot this spring. I was planning on letting it grow wild this year to gain some vigor before doing anything with it next year. I was planning on pruning it back hard but was wondering how azaleas deal with that? I was unsure of how many stages I should do the reduction in. I was planning on eventually possibly pruning it back to look like the last picture or something similar.
 

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jk_lewis

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Azaleas grow much faster than boxwood. I wouldn't prune that much -- maybe 1/2 of the first picture -- but I'd leave it in the ground while I did it, and let it fatten up for 2-3 years.
 

Bill S

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How big of a tree do you want in the end? JKL has it right, needs some fatting up. But these take a hard pruning well and pop new buds pretty quickly, not sure now is a good time for it though, unless you green house it for the winter.
 

Mike423

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I'll probably do it next summer. I was planning on pruning back hard in the end but was leaning twords doing so over a few seasons since I'm not too experience with Azaleas and didn't know how they react. As far as final size I really dont have anything I'm really aiming for. Probably no bigger than 2-2 1/2 feet tall at most.
 

Harunobu

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Azalea respond well to pruning. You can cut off all foliage. The question is how you want to shape this. It seems like all those branches are already too big and distort the trunk line.
 

Mike423

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Azalea respond well to pruning. You can cut off all foliage. The question is how you want to shape this. It seems like all those branches are already too big and distort the trunk line.

Thanks that's what I wanted to hear :) I agree the branches are all too long, thick and distorted for me to be interested in keeping them. They all must go!!!!!!!!!! I'm planning on trying to find a place with only morning light exposure to put in the ground next year before I start the choppin. That's going to be the hard part.
 

buffrider

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From what I've learned and worked on my azaleas is you can prune them back to a stump and they will pop all over the place. I agree with everyone else and say u should put this in the ground till u are at the thickness that you want. Other then alot of sun these can take a beating. I would pull the flowers off it as soon as u see the buds cause you don't need that energy wasted on them till it's ready.
 
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papajay

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let it grow, prefer on the ground if you have space, and choose a leader give it priority to grow.
Azalea's lower branch grow faster than top, so keep them in control.
Don't worry about branch with azaleas, they sprout many bud even on old wood
 

PaulH

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I'd prune it back next spring to a whip like this. Wire a little more movement into it and then grow it in the ground for a few years.


azalea.jpg
[/IMG]
 

Harunobu

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Yes, focus on growing a trunk only and continiously remove branches that get too thick. It will just bud back new ones. Focus on the trunk line selected becoming a real trunk and the apex getting strong and/or taller.
 
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is it safe to do drastic pruning like this on evergreen azaleas?
 

Harunobu

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Should be safe, though some varieties may not respond as well as you hope.

it is safer to cut back to the last pair of leaves first, then hope it backbuds at the right areas and then prune off the larger branches later. But that may or may not work depending on the individual cultivar.
 
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october

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Hello Mike...I think I know what you are trying to achieve with this... However, this tree is really not ready for this. I know it sounds repetitive, but this tree needs about 4-5 more years of quality growing conditions. I think that it should be root pruned some and put in a grow pot with good soil and excellent drainage. Perhaps a soil containg part japanese kanuma. Also, fertilized well.

The reason for these things is because you do not have a sufficient trunk base with this tree. If you had a thicker base and a tapered trunk, chopping would be good. However, trying this with this tree may either kill it or you will realize in about 3 years that it has not progressed at all.

I hope this is helpful,
Rob
 

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