NACOGDOCHES – We have another reason to get our azalea plantings tidied up — approximately 100 serious azaleaphiles are coming to the Garden Capital of Texas this spring.
On March 26-29, Nacogdoches will host the National Azalea Society of America convention. The term “azaleaphile” is an old term the society founders use to describe themselves. It literally means “azalea-lover.” The convention will be held in the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building and will also include tours of all the SFA Gardens, a few private residential gardens, and the Nacogdoches Azalea Trail route.
Barbara Stump of SFA Gardens has a few tips for azalea care to help area residents make their azaleas the absolute best for these special guests. Rule number 1: no heavy pruning right now. Our azaleas have been setting their buds for this spring’s blooms and if you prune branches now, they won’t bloom in the spring. You may not think there are buds there yet, but look carefully at the ends of the branches, tiny pointed buds are sitting there. However, if you have dead branches, cut them to the ground. If the whole shrub is dead, dig it out. Consider a different site for a new azalea with better soil, partial shade, and regular watering schedule. If you have some branches that stick out very high over the main bush, you can trim them to match the rest of the shrub shape, but, as previously stated, they will not bloom in the spring. Rule number 2: remember to fertilize in early March, assuming freezing temperatures aren’t forecasted. Rule number 3: add several inches of pine bark fines or pine straw mulch.
If you would like to add new azalea plants to your landscape, you may do so now as long as the temperatures are above 34 degrees at night. Be sure to plant the azaleas in soil that is rich and loose. Keep the new plants watered, unless winter rains provide. Both you and our convention folks will love the results.
If you would like to volunteer to help with the convention, contact Barbara Stump at firstname.lastname@example.org or 936.468.4129. For more information about the National Azalea Society of America convention, please visit www.nacogdochesazaleas.com.