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Rhododendron question...newbie

Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Milwaukee WI (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 9, 08 at 14:42

I want to plant a Rhododendron on the north side of my house. I know nothing about Rhododendrons.

1. There is an exhaust pipe near this area that runs from our furnace. Obviously, I won't plant directly in front of this, but what is a "safe" distance?

2. There are different varieties at my local nursery - some get really large, while others get maybe 3-4' in height. The colors that I want are the larger variety, but I'm not sure if I have enough space. Our property line is 36" from our house. If I plant the larger variety, is it feasible to prune them to keep them to size? What time of year do I prune?

3. What do I need to do to winterize?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rhododendron question...newbie

The main danger is that the heat from the furnace exhaust will cause problems in the winter. Rhododendrons like to cool off and stay cool and not be thawed out everytime the furnace kicks on. I would stay well away.

It is possible to prune them to stay small but not practical. You will get tired of it very quickly. There are some great smaller ones. I would recommend looking at the PJM series of small leaved rhododendrons and also the Northern-Lights series of deciduous azaleas. They are both extremely hardy and deciduous azaleas are available in a wide variety of colors.

The most important thing is to mulch them. It will help them in hot or cold weather and in dry weather. PJM's and Northern-Lights are very hardy and don't need much help. It is always best to try to avoid winter sun and wind. That is their main enemy. When the roots freeze, winter sun and wind tend to dessicate rhododendrons. Deciduous azaleas aren't bothered nearly as much.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow rhododendrons and azaleas.

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