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Maintenance Pruning of Rhododendrons

One of the most beautiful shrubs, the rhododendrons, has stunning blooms and lush foliage. It is a pretty low maintenance shrub, although we strongly suggest that you maintain them to keep them shapely, healthy, and rejuvenated.  If you don’t keep up with trimming, you could end up with rhododendrons that have excess growth. If it were to get to that stage, it could require some heavy pruning. This is why it’s a much better option to commit to regular, ongoing maintenance. Being proactive with your greenery can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

Maintenance pruning needs to be done every year, ideally when the flowers have faded and before the new growth emerges. The purpose of pruning is to remove the dead parts in order to control future growth. The rhododendrons make blooms that flower on the prior year’s wood, so you need to be extra careful when pruning, so that you don’t 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.

So, how do you do this? You do this by removing the dead flowers, as well as the old, dead wood. If you keep the dead flowers on, you risk having less flowers in the following year. This will also help keep the plant’s energy focused on growth, rather than on producing seed.

Buy a pair of pruning shears, if you don’t already own some. If you are unsure of which types of pruning shears to use, you can refer to Google or inquire with the staff at your local greenhouse or hardware store. To prune, you’ll need to cut near the base of the old flower cluster and remove all of the dead parts of the shrub. Then you’ll want to follow the branch back to healthy wood and snip there. Some people will just snap the flower cluster off, but that could harm new growth, which is another reason why we recommend using the proper pruning shears. You’ll also want to use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your pruning shears between cuts.

We know that the idea of pruning can seem overwhelming, which is why we would love to take on this job for you! 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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