Azalea/rhododendron -- Winter Protection

By The Old House Web
Azaleas/rhododendrons may need winter protection, depending on types selected. The University of Minnesota's "Northern Lights" series are extremely hardy for central Illinois.

When planting any azalea/rhododendron, choose a protected location from winter sun and winter wind. Most plants prefer a shady location

Plants should not be fertilized or pruned after July 1. New growth may not have a sufficient amount of time to become woody and harden off for the winter.

Young plants can be enclosed with chicken wire or dog fencing and packed loosely with oak leaves. Remove the protection in the spring as buds start expanding.

Mature plants can be mulched with several inches of wood chips at the base. Evergreen boughs can be leaned or tied against plants to limit winter injury.

An anti-desicant can be used to help prevent winter drying. Read and follow all directions to the letter. Most are a "waxy" substance that can break down quickly during winter's thaws necessitating reapplication.

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