A neighbor, whose rhodo I greatly admired, dug it up in March, 2007 -- just the wrong time -- and gave it to me. He wanted something smaller. It had bloomed very beautifully, but had grown spindly. Because of his own illness he had neglected to prune it. It survived the horrible winter of 2006-07 in Washington, DC -- 80 degree heat in December then below zero in January, then too hot in February, followed by cool March. So this rhodo is a trooper. It did not deserve to be yanked out of the ground when he yanked it. Not only that -- he dug it up badly, not getting all the roots! There were 9 fat buds on 6 bare branches of this leggy, 3 feet tall plant. The branches arel bald until the very top, where leaves are healthy. Two florets of weak-looking leaves emanate at the base of the plant. These have not changed much. I transplated it in early March into superb light acid soil, under dappled shade, removed all the flower buds, and prayed that some root system will be formed over the course of the coming year or two. So far the leaves have become firm and new growth has appeared at the tops of each long branch. My question is this: the entire plant looks like a giraffe -- spindly except at the very top. But I feel I cannot cut it back because the plant needs its leaves to help it form roots. When -- if ever -- and how -- can I begin to re-shape this once-glorious purple-blooming rhodo so that it can be its full self? Is it possible to cut it back to near the ground after its (hoped for) blooming time in May, 2008? (I doubt this but do not know rhododendrons).