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Pause Before Pruning Azaleas This Fall

Although Northwest Florida is well known for its beautiful Azalea displays every spring, many do not understand that these shows of bloom could be sacrificed completely by pruning at the wrong time.
Azaleas pruned late in the fall will have little or no bloom in the spring. Image Credit: Matthew Orwat

Azaleas pruned late in the fall will have little or no bloom in the spring. Image Credit: Matthew Orwat

Pruning Azaleas in the fall will result in a loss of spring bloom the following year because most bloom on previous years’ wood. This means that they flower on growth put on throughout the previous growing season. If a gardener removes the previous season’s new growth, they are removing the blooms as well.

Fall Pruned Azalea. Image Credit Matthew Orwat

Fall Pruned Azalea. Image Credit Matthew Orwat

So, when is the proper time to prune Azaleas? The ideal time to prune is directly after the spring bloom. This will give the plant enough time to generate abundant new growth, thus maximizing bloom next spring. 

For more information on pruning Azaleas or on general Azalea culture, please read the UF / IFAS publication Azalea’s at a Glance or check out the Pruning Azalea page on Gardening in a Minute.

PG

Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.
http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu/lng/about/

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/09/17/pause-before-pruning-azaleas-this-fall/