Rhododendron Pruning

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bob, Nov 9, 2000.

  1. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Posts: 4,254

    A customer wants his Rhododendron cut back. There are "buds" on the plant right now. If I cut it back, will it still flower in the spring?
  2. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073


    try to 'thin' out the plant first, instead of just shearing the outside of it. What I mean, is go to the bottom of the plant or to the very end of the branches where they split, and cut off there, therfore still leaving a large number of buds left on the outside. If plant is greatly overgrown, then maybe replacement is the only way to go.

  3. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,354

    WAIT-WAIT for the buds to pass and then do selective cutting starting with the bottom.
  4. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Posts: 481

    One doesn't shear Rhodies! Buds set after bloom and overwinter, so if you shear or cut them off you will lose those buds and will have to wait 1 season for the next buds. http://jollydwarf.com/beetleframe.htm this link might help!
  5. powerreel
    Right on the money, but what do you do if the plants can't tell the difference between spring and winter. Im my area(San Francisco) the weather has been like spring until just wednesday.
  6. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Posts: 481

    Plants always know the realitive position of earth to sun by the rotation of the earth's axis, summer days are longer winter are longer. Hand pruning is an art and I suggest to start inside the plant and work out and also buy Felco pruners. You either have the gift to prune or you don't! Hydrangas also need west coast pruning PRIOR to our "frost"
  7. Scape Sculptor

    Scape Sculptor LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    Never use shears on Rhodys...I see shears used on a lot of shrubs they never should have been. I highly recommend that if anyone does not know how to prune properly, That they take a short coure in it or at the very least buy a book and read up on the subject. I have to agree with Powerreel...Hand pruning is an art...and a gift. I have seen to many butchered trees and shrubs out there by people thet don't know what they are doing.

    I don't want to sound like I was slamming anyone, here. This is just one of those subjects that really get to me because of all the damage I see in the field. I apologize ahead of time if this offended anyone...
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Hedge trimmers are for HEDGES. To many, shrub maintenance means shearing with hedge trimmers. This is from ignorance, historically. Proper ornamental maintenance is done mainly by pruning, using hand pruners, loppers, handsaws, small chainsaws, etc. Hedge trimming, or shearing, properly only belongs on a hedge, in a formal garden, or in maintaining topiary.

    If the rhodedendron in question is in drastic need of pruning, it can be done any time, but fall or winter pruning will reduce the number of flowers next spring. Have to balance the need with the consequences.

    Mr powerreel's suggestion that the plants can determine day length is valid, but this is not used by most plants in determining flowering. Temperature sequences are more important to the plant. I have a Mohican viburnum that has flowered three times this year, last time 10 days ago because of unusual temperature fluctuations. Also this year saw henbit (a winter annual) germinating in August and then flowering in late Sept when temp increased.

    [Edited by GroundKprs on 11-10-2000 at 06:36 PM]
  9. Ground Rules

    Ground Rules LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    I have used http://www.rhododendron.org in the past to gleen additional information on proper planting, fertilization and pruning. The rhodo is evident in probably every customer I have. Just another source for what it's worth.

  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Try this page http://gardening.about.com/homegarden/gardening/cs/msub81/index.htm for starters. This is good for a general intro to someone interested. The key to successful pruning is understanding apical dominance, and the growth characteristics of each plant.

    If you're just going to shear everything, why not buy plastic boxes, balls and pyramids, and paint them green? Would sure save a lot of work.

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