The Q&A Archives: Pruning Rhododendron

Question: I planted a Rhododendron last fall. It has bloomed and I have been told to trim the bush back now. Is this true? Should I be trimming a first year rhododendron after it has bloomed?

Answer: I think it's a little early in the game to be pruning your rhododendron. Every 2-3 years is a good rule of thumb. Rhodies bloom on the ends of two-year old shoots. It takes a full year for blossom buds to develop after a shoot has developed from a main branch or limb. Rather than prune, carefully snap off the faded flower trusses when they turn brown. You should see two buds developing beneath the flower trusses; the long narrow bud will become a leaf; a short fat bud will become next year's flower. Be careful not to damage these buds when you snap off the faded flower trusses.

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