Ask a Question forum: Rhododendron care in the fall

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Oct 22, 2016 5:18 PM CST
Should I cut the plant back in the fall? And if so, how much should I cut back?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Oct 22, 2016 7:52 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @Dantra1 !

I'm not an expert on rhododendrons by any means, although I do have a couple of them... but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't cut them back in the fall because they make next year's flower buds pretty much right after they flower during the current year. In other words, you won't get any flowers in the spring if you trim them now.

I hope someone more knowledgeable will also answer your question. Smiling
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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Oct 22, 2016 8:10 PM CST
Hope this helps.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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Oct 23, 2016 12:28 AM CST
Hi Sandy:
Spring is the recommended time to prune, and some blooms will be sacrificed. I usually clean up the Rhodys every spring, and if I do this yearly, the pruning is never very severe, and most blooms are saved.

I have had those years tho, when my Rhody's were neglected and turned into the Oversized Jolly Green Giant in the yard. Now my spring pruning will remove every bloom, so I elect to let the plant bloom and prune after.

Would it be possible for you to take a picture of the Rhody to see the height and shape of your plant. Pruning a 5 foot Rhody is not at all that similar to pruning a 10 or 12 foot Rhody. I spent my first few years of learning to prune these things, where I literally would prune the plant, by two feet all over, only to realize the plant still looked like Lurch, and had to start all over again.

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