Tag Archives: Rhododendron

What the heck is Integrated Pest Management?

Besides being wonderful, IPM–Integrated Pest Management–is a sustainable, environmental approach to managing insect pests in our gardens and other managed urban and suburban landscapes. The acronym need not be mysterious or intimidating, on the contrary, IPM will become your “Go To” once you get to know it!

Friends of Foes? Psocids, also known as bark lice, hanging out on a Cherry Tree. Psocids are fungivores, not damaging to the tree. (photo : adele medina o’dowd)

IPM Control Tactics start to finish…

Monitor Key Pests and Key Plants : Learn what to look for in your own garden and decide which areas, plants and trees are most important to you. (If, for example, Azaleas and Rhododendrons are important, get help from the UMD extension office website.) Get assistance in diagnosing and strategizing, as needed. Pruning by Design can help you with this!

Cultural and Sanitation Practices : Add biodiversity and native plants to your yard, include disease resistant plants, maintain plant health, mulch, reduce habitat and soil stresses. Make sure irrigation is not too much or too little. PbD can help you with this!

Mechanical and Physical Controls : PbD can help you with this! PRUNE! Prune out infestations and hand pick to remove problem insect pests, use high pressure water spray to blast them off. Prune to encourage airflow and remove disease vectors.

Biological Controls : Implement these after working with other good plant health care practices, encourage or establish predatory insects such as lacewings and lady beetles to pray on pests like aphids, attract and support birds in your own garden, add beneficial nematodes in your soil, strive for a natural balance of predator and pray insects in your yard so that pest outbreaks are less likely. PbD can help you with this!

Chemical Controls : Last Resort, use organic and inorganic pesticides only on a prescription basis, applied by professionals. There is real and present danger for pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as humans, when they are used in our neighborhoods. Check out your pesticides with the OMRI, Organic Materials Review Institute. PbD does not use chemical controls.

Don’t use fertilizers. Nitrogen, common in nearly every fertilizer, can actually promote secondary pest outbreaks that are worse than the first infestation, sigh!

Azalea pruning time is NOW

This azalea branch below is toooooo long and growing horizontally into the plant.  It will break someday.  That’s not great for the shrub!Azalea pruning time

Azaleas are very tough so after they bloom and after the new leaves have flushed out, it’s time to prune in your area.  In the Washington, DC area, the time is now – late June.


Azalea pruning time

Find a joint where there are too many branches (see below). Make a diagonal cut with the longer side of the cut on the side where you’d like new growth to appear or continue growing.  This joint has many other branches growing vertically which can be encouraged to grow upward rather than sideways.  Azaleas can take very hard pruning.  It’s very hard to make a mistake with Azaleas (a type of Rhododendron).
Azalea pruning time

Here (below) is the “after” view of the joint with the new cut.  This is a good, clean cut outside the branch collar.  The long horizontal branch that was there before is no longer crossing into the shrub.  Growth is encouraged to grow up and outwards allowing light and air into the interior of the shrub!

pruningbydesign@gmail.com can help you prune Azaleas for health, beauty and a long life.  write to us today!


Azalea pruning time