I’ve been cooped up with the rest of the country, so this tree got the full spa treatment. Removing blooms is getting to be a big task, as the tree has grown to about 32″ wide. So let’s start off with a few money shots at peak bloom before we jump in.
And now the work begins.
Remove all flower parts, down to the husk of the flower:
A close up of spent blooms:
To end up like this:
Then, prune back fairly hard. As azaleas age, the branches constrict and the cambium becomes thin, so it’s important to prune hard to keep renewing the tree with young growth. I cut back branches to pairs of evenly-sized shoots, and replace heavy branches with finer branches.
Here is a close up example of pruning back a typical branch with multiple whorls, long internodes, and upward growth:
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