Q: We have several large azaleas in our central bed- they're very leggy and when I when I prune them most of the limbs seem to be half brown/dry/dead. Some limbs put out minor growth/leaves but they don't amount to much. I've cut back the three in front on the bed by the courtyard right down to the ground because they we so dead-I guess they'll never come back.
Do you think when they get like this I just need to cut them down and dig them up and start over? They've been nice for the past 10 years but it looks like they've run their course and I just need to replace them. What do you think?
A: Azaleas can be very long lived plants given the right conditions. A poorly growing plant is indicative of poor location or poor nutrition or disease (occasionally insect) problems. Unless you know what went wrong you can't determine the best course of action so I will stop by and see what I can determine.
Azaleas are one of the plants that can be rejuvenated by cutting back hard so the ones that you pruned to the ground may resprout. Without looking at them I would recommend a soil test and appropriate fertilization for any that show signs of life. I may have some more concrete information after seeing them.
Posted on Tue, April 28, 2009
by Joe Hertzler