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If You Grow Rhododendrons…

One of the most beautiful shrubs that has become commonplace in the Vancouver area, is the rhododendron. Not only are they great for aesthetic and curb appeal because of their eye-catching colors, but they won’t create a lot of extra work for you when it comes to maintenance. Good news, right? That said, you still want to follow these tips to keep them healthy and rejuvenated:

When and how should they be planted?

  • You’ll want to plant rhododendrons in the spring or fall.
  • Stay away from planting them in areas that have deep shade or full sun.
  • It is ideal to plant them in areas that have partial shade during some part of the day, or in areas where other trees can cast shade on them. This will help them fight off insects, pests, and disease.
  • You will also have less likelihood of getting root rot if you plant in cooler areas that have good drainage.
  • Ensure that your soil is acidic and moist.
  • It’s a good idea to add organic material, such as compost, chopped leaves, or composted cow manure.
  • Space plants 2 to 6 feet apart, depending on size.
  • Dig holes as deep as the root ball and twice as wide.

Do I need to fertilize them?

  • Yes! It is a great idea to fertilize them sparingly in the early spring.

What about trimming and pruning?

  • You don’t want to end up with excess growth, so it’s definitely important to keep up with trimming.
  • It’s also important to get pruning done for maintenance about once a year when the flowers fade and before the new growth has emerged.
  • Pruning removes the dead parts in order to control future growth.
  • Be sure to use high quality pruning shears. They are better for the shrubs and they’ll also make the job easier for you.
  • Since the rhododendrons make blooms that flower on the prior year’s wood, be extra careful when pruning. You don’t want to snip the buds off for next spring, as they will be made this summer.
  • If you cut too much, you risk having a shrub that won’t flower for the next year or two, and of course that is not a favourable outcome.
  • When you remove the dead flowers and the old, dead wood, this will help keep the plant’s energy focused on growth, rather than on producing seed.
  • Cut near the base of the old flower cluster and remove all of the dead parts of the shrub, then follow the branch back to healthy wood and snip there.
  • Always use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your pruning shears between cuts.

Overwhelmed by the thought of trimming and pruning? Don’t worry! We are here to help you out! Call us today at ATC Landscape if you are located in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge & area: 604-720-2853.

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