Can I prune my azalea in November? It is so big I can’t get close to my house to hang my Christmas lights.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Pam: Wow, that must be a really big azalea! The best time to prune your azalea would be after it flowers in the spring. Pruning now will remove any potential flowers that you would enjoy next spring. It is getting to be late enough in the season to prune without worrying about winter injury. The light levels are much lower and pruning now would not encourage new growth that would be more susceptible to winter damage. So really it is up to you; unfortunately you will have to sacrifice the Christmas lights or the blooms on your azalea next spring. If you do decide to prune make sure your pruners are clean and sharp. The general rule is to remove no more than one-third of the size of the plant. Is it possible to straddle the azalea with a ladder? That way you can have both the Christmas lights and the following season’s blooms. Another option would be to gently tie the plant up with twine so you can get behind it to string your lights. Azaleas are pretty tough plants and will not mind a few moments of being held or tied back.