The Q&A Archives: Rhodie Pruning

Question: When is the best time in the Northwest to prune a rhodie?

Answer: Rhododendrons, like most spring-blooming shrubs, should be pruned as soon as they're finished blooming. This will give the plant all summer to develop new leaf and flower buds for next year's show. Restore the shape of leggy plants by cutting back to a side branch, leaf whorl, or cluster of dormant buds. Most rhodies will respond with new growth within a few weeks. If you're renovating a neglected shrub, don't remove more than one-third of the actively growing green material in any one year, or you'll send the plant into shock. Plan on taking 2-3 years to finish the renovation project. By selectively removing stems, you'll retain some bloom for next year and still be able to reduce the height and width of the rhodie.

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