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Use clean cutters, and sterilize them as the work progresses, particularly after a cut in infected wood.
Denatured alcohol is an effective sterilizing agent, as is rubbing alcohol or household bleach. Next year take out two or three more branches using the same process, spreading the Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins. May 05, Pruning to Rejuvenate.
This will help to prevent the spread of disease to healthy branches.
If you are pruning an azalea in order to rejuvenate the plant because it’s become spindly or sparse, locate three to five of the largest branches on the azalea bush. Cut these branches back by a third to a half. Trim all the other branches on the plant as though you’re shaping the plant.
Apr 20, How to Prune Azaleas.
Don't go overboard; just make a few selective cuts to keep your plant healthy.
Start with the right equipment. “If you want to shape them in any way or reduce their size” says Curtis, “the best tool to use is a pair of hand pruners.”. Make sure they’re sharp, and sanitize them with rubbing alcohol before you start clipping spent blooms and dead or damaged branches.