pruning Solidarity rhododendron?

plympton_ma(z6B MA)May 25, 2009

I have many elepidote rhododendrons about that, aside from some occasional pinching, have never had any formal pruning. I've read the "how-to's" many years ago but till now had not had the opportunity to put it to practice.

Last spring, I relocated several plants of Solidarity. The mounding plants are about 10+ years of age and are about 30" high and 60" wide. The plants look pretty gangly with long bare branches with a few leaves at the ends. The location/exposure they were in originally has a fair amount of sun and has produced several dense elepidotes other than the Solidaritys. I wondered whether this is a result of the Yak influence but then I recalled that most of the pictures I've seen of yaks or yak crosses all appeared to be pretty dense plants.

I would really like to tighten these up in their new home. When I transplanted them, I didn't want to induce too much suffering at once so I only pruned back a couple of the longest branches, taking maybe 6" off the ends. The plants never pushed out any new growth along those branches and each branch that was pruned appears to have died. I'll have to try scraping back some of the bark to confirm this.

This spring, as I look at all the remaining gangly branches with a few leaves and beautiful pink flowers on the ends intermingled with several dead branches, I'm a bit gun-shy about pruning any more branches till I learn a bit more.

Any suggestions?


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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

First be sure of the basics. Is there good drainage? Was the root ball open and not rootbound? Is the pH low enough? Were there droughts? If the basics are all solid, then getting the plant healthy, and then pruning should result in a denser plant.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:17PM
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Solidarity were bred by Rare find nursery in Jackson NJ I would give them a call they are very helpful and will advise you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 4:32PM
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