The Q&A Archives: Rhodos

Question: I just bought a home that has a very established rhodo, but I noticed that there are few buds for flowers, and a few leaves are yellowing. I was considering pruning the shub back. Should I feltilize and wait till after the bloom, or cut my losses and prune now?

Answer: This has been a difficult season for many evergreens so a little discoloration might not be significant. The lack of buds could be caused by pruning at the wrong time last year, by poor fertility, or by too much shade. If it is not overgrown, I would suggest you use a slow release fertilizer such as Hollytone, mulch with up to three inches of organic mulch such as pine bark, and wait and see how it does this year for you. After it blooms, you might do a little selective pruning but a drastic pruning will simply add to stress if it is already stressed and have long term effects on the overall shape of the plant.

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