Q: I need to know how to prune Encore azaleas. I just bought a new house that has several around it. They need pruning pretty bad but I don’t want to cut off the blooms for next spring.
A: I had my doubts about the shrubs initially but Encore(tm) azaleas have succeeded very well in Atlanta. They consistently give blooms in both spring and fall. The best time to prune them is right after they bloom in spring. In this way there will be plenty of time for buds to form for fall flowers.
Spring bloom buds are at the tips of the branches in fall. If you are forced to prune before spring, remove individual branches to reduce the shrub’s size but leave as many untouched branch tips as you can.