Rhododendron - pruning

jel48(Z4 Michigan)June 15, 2010

Can anyone tell me how severely you can prune Rhododendrons and get away with it? Here on the Keweenaw peninsula, people put cages around shrubs or tie them up tight in the winter because the weight of all that snow is so desctructive. We bought a couple of Rhododendrons last year and didn't get that done. As a result, we had flattened out, empty in the center, ugly Rhododendron bushes. They have finally finished blooming and I read that now was the time they should be pruned. Actually, I did prune them some yesterday and kind of shaped them up yesterday, but they are still so 'empty' in the center. What I'd love to do is prune them down to about 8 inches and see if they'd fill in. Could they handle that, do you think?

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leftwood(z4a MN)

How big are they now?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 9:35PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

They were just planted last year and were about 2 1/2 feet tall this year (only flattened down). I did what I thought was a minimal pruning on them late last week, clearing out the dead stuff and shaping them up a little. They are now about 18-24 inches. They look better then they did but are still kind of hollowed out in the center.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 7:57AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

When I pruned the rhododendron about two weeks ago, I cut off maybe a third of their height. This seemed to work ok. I would have liked to have pruned further, taking off maybe another foot and seeing if that would cause them to fill in better, but this hasn't worked out too bad. There is a lot of new growth on all of the pruned branches. I think they'll definitely look at least somewhat better next year :-)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 2:02PM
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