Worried about Rhodo getting huge

lorislines(6)July 11, 2006

Please forgive this silly question but I know absolutely nothing about most shrubs and trees. We recently moved into a new home in which we had to plant the lawn as well as the beds. My father, who loves to garden came over with a white Rhododendrom and planted it into the front bed against the house. We have a beautiful window about 2 feet above the shrub. My father tells me this can never be pruned, which concerns me. We moved form a house that had massive overgrown rhodos that I hated. I really don't want a huge shrub in front of my house, much less covering our picture window. Is my Dad mistaken? Can we prune this before it starts to grow out of hand? If so, when is the best time to do it? I'd really appreciate any and all help.

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Yes, they can be pruned, but regular pruning to keep one within bounds is really not the way to go...better to have a shrub that reaches an acceptable mature height for your site. Rhododendrons come in all sizes and it would help to know the name of yours before deciding if it will potentially be a problem...do you know which rhododendron this is?

Pruning is best done immediately after flowering. These set their buds for the following Spring in Summer; pruning in summer will remove the next seasons flower buds.

If the plant is young like yours, you can guide its growth without pruning, merely pinching the leaf buds at approximately the same time you would be deadheading spent flowers in late Spring. As the leaf buds, which are slimmer and pointier than the fat, blunt tipped flower buds, begin to elongate and start to unfurl, take your fingers and pinch/break them off. This will encourage more branching lower on the plant - the result being a more compact, dense shrub.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 3:32PM
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dw40(7)

HOW CAN I TELL WHEN BUDS ARE SET? MY PLANTS HAVE JUST PUT ON NEW GROWTH, AND I NEED TO PRUNE. IT'S THE END OF MAY,AND ABOUT 3 WEEKS PAST BLOOMING. AM I SAFE TO PRUNE?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 1:10PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The sooner the better. The flower buds will be setting in late June and early July. You want to prune now so you won't be removing next years flowers.

And Lorislines,

Rhododendrons are easy to move. Just remember they have shallow roots and be careful no to disturb the roots too much. Now would be the time to plant your white rhododendron in a place where it has enough room. Most varieties need more than 2' of room. If you are very luck you may have one of the very low growing ones, but the chances of that are slim. If you know the variety, we can tell you how big it gets.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:10PM
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