The Q&A Archives: rhodedendrum pruning

Question: My rhodie has jsut finished blooming and the clowers are falling off. Is this a good time to prune and how far back should I go. The bush is about 8' tall and kinda leggy at the bottom. Had a great show of flowers this year better than in the past.
Thank you for all your help.

Answer: Your rhodies can be pruned when they've finished blooming. If you snap off the old flower tresses, you'll see the beginnings of leaf and flower buds just below the old flowers. These will produce this year's leaves and next year's flowers. If you prune these off, you won't have any flowers next spring. However, it might be worth the sacrifice if you want to force new growth lower down on the plant. There are several ways to renew a rhododendron. One is to reduce the height all around by one-third. Done in early summer, your plant will begin new growth almost immediately. A second method is to cut some of the stems down by one-half but leave the rest alone. This will force some growth lower down on the plant but also save some of the flower buds so you'll have a floral display next spring. The following year you can cut the tallest stems down so the entire shrub is the same size. Best wishes with your rhodies!

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