The Q&A Archives: Pruning Rhododendrons

Question: My Rhododendrons are getting rather tall, and I would like to prune them down a little. On some of them there is new growth sticking out of the top of the bush. Will removing this new growth be damaging to the bush? Will I be harming the blooms, both present and future?

Answer: Rhododendrons develop new leaf and flower buds directly below the old flower trusses, so if you trim back the branches you'll lose next year's bloom. You might want to make pruning a 2-3 year project, removing only some of the branch tips this year and some next year, in order to preserve at least half of the blooms each season. Rhodies can be kept in shape by removing about one-third of the length of each branch. Hope this helps you decide how much to prune from your rhodies.

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