Azalea Tree

A Gardener’s Guide to Growing an Azalea Tree

 

The primary benefit to growing an Azalea tree is that they are so easy to care for but even with little to do you want to know certain things so the tree would remain healthy and grow strong.  That way, you have an Azalea tree that would enhance your property for as long as you live there and for future residents.  The primary things would include pruning and planting, which we have addressed in this article.

The first consideration for owning an Azalea tree is where to plant.  For this, you want to choose an area of the property that provides partial shade so temperatures are a little cooler.  In addition, the soil needs to be able to drain and it should be more on the acidic side.  Depending on the exact variety of this tree you decide to purchase, some will thrive in sunlight but this would be an important piece of information to know.

Of all things for growing an Azalea tree, you need to make sure the pH level of the soil is right.  The goal is to get the level to around 5.5.  If you are not sure what your soil provides, you could have it tested or a less expensive option would be to purchase a testing kit from your local gardening center or nursery.  This way, you would test the pH level as often as needed to make sure it stays in the range required by the Azalea tree.  If the soil is too alkaline, use fertilizer containing ammonium-N, which keeps the alkaline level where it needs to be.  One important note is that fertilizer for the Azalea tree should never be applied when first planted in that the non-established roots and foliage could burn.

As mentioned, the Azalea tree prefers shaded areas.  If your property does not offer much shade, it would be essential to plant another tree nearby.  However, you need to make a wise choice for this since the additional tree would need to share the same soil needs.  Also, the Azalea tree has very shallow roots so you would not want a companion tree that has aggressive roots that could overtake those belonging to the Azalea tree.  One of the best is the Red Oak, which would also be visually appealing.

Another consideration for growing the Azalea tree has to do with mulch.  In fact, this is a very important aspect of growing this particular tree.  Remember, the roots are quite shallow so the mulch serves a purpose of protection.  That way, when outside temperatures are extremely cold or hot the roots would not be exposed.  In addition, using mulch keeps the tree from becoming too dry.  Although the Azalea tree prefers soil that drains well, it would not thrive if the soil becomes and stays dry for any length of time.

When choosing mulch for an Azalea tree, look for those considered acidic.  For instance, an excellent choice would be pine straw.  Then, remember that over time, mulch breaks down, which then becomes a part of the soil so if the mulch is acidic, it provides what the tree needs to grow big and strong even though it will eventually break down.  All you need to do is add more mulch when needed.

Finally, the only other thing you really need to do when growing an Azalea tree is prune it once blooming is over, which is typically during the months of June and July.  If you were to prune the tree any other time, potential for the following year’s blooms would be interrupted.  Simply remove any dry, dead, or damaged branches to prevent problems with insects or disease, and take off gangly shoots.  With this, your Azalea tree will do quite well and provide you with a lifetime of beauty.


 

 


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