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Dave shows you how to prune your rhododendron after the flowers have gone by.
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Hi! I am Dave Epstein. Thanks for watching Growing Wisdom and we are standing in the middle of the road, a rhododendron bush. It just done flowering. You can see the flowers have just gone by literally in the past few days. The flower buds are set in the previous summer and fall. One of the things that you do not want to do is prune these folks before they flower. You want to prune them after they flower. If I had prune this same in March, I would have prune off all the flowers and it would never have had and any of the flowers have just gone by.
So, as soon as they go by, spring flowering things that are the time to prune. You always want to take out deadwood on rhododendron, removing it and giving the plant better air circulation. You want to also prune for shape. So, if you do not like the shape of a particular plant. If you have a branch that has gone a little bit too high, you could prune it for that. You also want to prune for form in crisscross branches. You can see here, we have the new growth and the old growth and this new growth has just come out in the past couple of weeks and the best place to prune is at that junction point. What you do not want to do is prune right in the middle here. You do not want to snip it there because any of the new buds are going to come out lower down. You want to prune just above where the reserve bud is and that is at the junction of each year’s growth.
So, let us do one. We are going to cut at an angle just above that bud and that bud then will branch out into a lot of new branches. Now, I would not have any flowers on that bud for next year but it will have a nice growth and in the following year, it will get some nice flowers to it. Notice some just slightly above, about a quarter an inch above where the bud is and notice you will have this beautiful clean cut here. We have cut at an angle. It lets the water, so it would roll off there. If you prune in the wrong spot or not the ideal spot, eventually new growth will come up anyway and what would happen is that you would have some deadwood above the new growth because you pruned a little bit too high. So, just cut that off after the new growth comes out. It is more that you will have to do a second step to kind of neat that up a little bit. You are not going to kill the plant you do not find the exact bud juncture from year to year. It just makes it a little bit easier.
Some folks like to take these flowers off. Couple of ways you can do it. You can very carefully just break that off. These are all the new growth and if you are not careful, when you are breaking the flowers off, you will also take the new growth off. So, what I would like to do is just carefully cut the flowers. By taking the flowers off, you are letting the energy go into the plant, not into making more seeds. It just keeps the plant a little bit healthier.
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