|When do I cut back rhodies, and what should I mulch with?
|Rhododendrons can be pruned back after flowering, when necessary. Most rhodies are relatively slow growing and unless you want to rehabilitate an overgrown shrub, pruning isn't required annually. Instead, carefully break off the spent flower trusses, being careful not to damage the buds directly below the flowers. These buds are next year's leaves and next season's blooms. When renovating an overgrown rhodie, cut back to a main stem or branch, just above a leaf node (swelling on the branch). To help control weeds around the base of the plant, mulch with 3-4 inches of organic material such as compost or peat moss.