Pruning of azaleas and rhododendrons:
Azaleas and rhododendrons are shrubs belonging to the same family, widespread throughout Europe. These are fairly slow-growing plants that do not require too regular drastic pruning. Flowering occurs at the beginning of spring and in general pruning is practiced just after flowering, removing the withered flowers and shortening the branches that carried the flowers, so that they can quickly sprout and thicken the shrub.
Periodically, however, it is good to practice more significant pruning, so as to keep the plant healthy and thick. Every 2-3 years it is possible to shorten the branches of younger shrubs by about a third, after flowering; this type of pruning is also practiced on the more delicate and tender apartment azaleas.
By shortening the entire foliage, the thickening of the shrub is favored and it is avoided that, over time, the lower part of the plant tends to undress; in this way the plant maintains a compact and roundish appearance. As regards the older plants, which have been in residence for many years, it is possible to practice a drastic pruning in late winter, shortening the entire shrub up to 25-35 cm from the ground; in this way it will favor the development of new vegetation, promoting the rejuvenation of the entire shrub.
After such flowering in general, flowering does not occur for at least a couple of years, since all the plant's energies will be used to form new healthy and robust vegetation. For all the azaleas then pruning is done during the entire growing season, from March to September, removing broken branches, diseased leaves and withered flowers.