Newbie needs help with Old Rhodo

willtogrow(6)March 24, 2013

Hi all,
I am new to this forum.. moved into a lovely old home about 5 years ago. Everyplant is very old. The Rhododendrons in front of my house were fine for a few years, but now they are very leggy and bark is crusty and grey and I guess dying. I am not good at gardening, but wonder if I can cut the stems of the shrub down to 6" above grown and will they grow back? Some of the flowers do open and are beautiful, but stems are getting grey and woody. many thanks.
I live in Fairfield County, CT.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All rhododendrons develop woody stems with age. The photo shows nothing that would indicate this one is dying. In fact, it looks perfectly normal and healthy.

Usually old rhododendrons become leggy and produce only sparse blooms because they have become increasingly shaded by other plants over time. Increasing the amount of sunlight they receive by cutting back the growth that's shading them is the best cure. A soil test would also reveal any nutritional problems, although old rhododendrons with extensive root system rarely need fertilizer.

Radically cutting back an old rhododendron is an iffy proposition. Sometimes it works fine, especially if the plant receives enough sun, but it can also fail miserably. A safer course would be to cut back 1/3 and see how it goes. If it sprouts from the pruned areas, prune another 1/3 the followinng year, etc. It will, however, be many years before you're likely to see much bloom.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 5:48AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Rhododendron & Azalea Disease & Pest Book
There is an up-to-date book that just came out that...
Please help to ID those two Rhodos
I found two interesting Rhodos (one elepidote, one...
Spring is here.....
=================== 'nuff said! ===================...
brown azalea
I bought this year, at the beginning of summer a small...
Yaks for Richmond, VA?
I am considering two Rhodies for a small, shaded, urban...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™