Azaleas are commonly referred to as the ‘Royalty of the Garden,’ a fitting title, especially during their summer bloom. But, there are a few things you need to add to your to-do list to keep your plant healthy and ready to come back just as beautiful next year.
Here are a few of our summer care tips for your azaleas!
Pruning is Helpful, Not Harmful
Most people aren’t too keen on taking hedge clippers to their azaleas, but pruning is a necessary (and beneficial!) task when they get too big.
Pruning is best done in June. After that, buds will begin to form, and pruning can hurt next year’s growth and bloom. Also, you’re right. Don’t use the hedge clippers. Get a pair of sharp pruning shears and focus on the thicker branches found deeper in the shrub.
Aim to prune 12 to 18 inches of growth, always cutting back to a bud or another branch. Your azaleas will be smaller afterward, but they should still look green and natural.
Keep Your Azaleas Hydrated
It gets hot in the summer, and your azaleas will feel the heat too. Azaleas also have shallow root systems compared to other shrubs, making them more susceptible to water stress. You want to keep the soil evenly moist. Don’t drown your plants but try to keep the soil from drying out completely.
Water thoroughly in the mornings so that the sun can keep wet leaves from growing fungal diseases!
Check the Soil
Azaleas like acidic soil between 4.5 to 6. If the pH is too high, the leaves will turn yellow, and your plants will become weaker. Soil testing is a great way to know if your azaleas are in the right environment!
If the soil isn’t acidic enough, you won’t have to uproot your plants. Adding organic compost is one way to naturally adjust the soil to your azaleas’ liking!
Fertilize Only When Needed
Most of the time, your azaleas should be able to thrive on their own. But, if they are looking a little under the weather, a little fertilizer won’t hurt!
If you have tested your soil, wait for those results and fertilize accordingly. Azaleas need nitrogen to promote new growth and foliage, and you should be able to find great fertilizers that also contain phosphorus and potassium for healthy blooms, roots, and stems.
Keep the Bugs Away
Lace bugs are going to be one of your azaleas’ worst enemies. These pests are small white flies with transparent wings that suck the sap from the underside of leaves. This leads to hard, black spots on the bottom of the leaves, making the tops look speckled and bleached.
Because they are hard to see, they can be hard to treat before damage has been done. Keep an eye out for these bugs and call-in backup if you notice any! Our lawn care professionals provide insect management services to ensure pests aren’t a problem for the yard-scape around your home.
For questions about shrub care, lawn care, or all things pest, contact us at callwaynes.com or call us today at 866.WAYNES1!
Meredith Boyd, Social Media & Marketing Coordinator – Waynes, www.callwaynes.com