Rhododendron pruning - Knowledgebase Question

West Hempstead, NY (Zone 6B)
Avatar for wtrside
Question by wtrside
June 1, 2006
When is the best possible time for pruning rhododendrons. I have several in front of my home that are becoming very tall and leggy. They are also blocking my window views. They have just stopped blooming and was wondering if this is would be good time.

Answer from NGA
June 1, 2006
Rhododendrons can be pruned back by removing individual stems that are overly long. If you are taking off just a small portion of the bush (say less than ten percent of the overall bulk), you can do it now. (Right after bloom is the best time to do light pruning.) If you need to take them back substantially, a better time would be very early next spring before they bloom. This will remove the flower buds but is less stressful on the plant when you need to cut it back hard. If they are truly too big for their location, you might want to replace them with something that matures to a smaller size. Otherwise you will be pruning regularly every year or hard pruning every few years. I hope this helps.

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