Feeding And Pruning Azaleas And Rhododendrons
Azaleas and Rhododendrons are among the most popular flowering shrubs and are commonly used in landscapes in many regions. Their spring beauty offers blossoms of white, pink, reds, lavenders, orange and purples, providing an array of color to any landscape.
Typically these flowering shrubs are acid loving, meaning they prefer soils with a low pH level. This can be maintained by adding various acidifiers, such as HiYield Aluminum Sulphate, to the soil’s surface annually.
The fertilizing of Azaleas and Rhododendrons should be performed shortly after their flowering period has ended. Just apply a granular fertilizer to the soil’s, or mulch layer’s, surface. We suggest using Fertilome Azalea, Rhododendron, Camellia Food which should to be applied every 4-6 weeks during the growing season between flowering in spring and bud set in early fall. Liquid fertilizers can be applied as a supplement, but we highly suggest a slow release granular-based fertilizer for outdoor shrubs.
Pruning these beauties is often misunderstood and should be also performed shortly after the flowering period has ended. Azaleas, which react well to pruning, can be hand-pruned or sheared by removing all leggy or irregular growth for shaping and size control. Rhododendrons, if maintained yearly, can be taken care of by pruning or pinching the new growth shoot from the branch tips, or often around the spent blossom. With heavy pruning the new shoot growth will push inner growth buds deeper within the shrub or behind the blossom. However, lighter tipping on the new growth will simply terminate and create branching from beneath the cut.
If your Rhododendrons are allowed to get too large, heavier pruning can be done. Simply go further behind the blossom, which will appear to be a woodier stem appearance. This, however, is just fine and new growth buds will slowly begin to develop lower behind the cuts along the stem.
Just another quick tip for extra advice to make these beauties thrive: apply Fertilome Liquid Iron to the soil area beneath these flowering shrubs at least once yearly, preferably in mid-spring following pruning. This will create larger, darker green, and lush foliage for an even more spectacular appearance.