Prune transplanted Rhododenrons?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by pioniere, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. pioniere

    pioniere Member

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    Hi All,

    My neighbor gave me a couple of medium sized (4 ft tall, 3 ft across) Rhododendrons he no longer wanted. They still had good root balls on them, but had sat around for a few days before I had an opportunity to get them in the ground. I had kept them moist until I had time to plant them. When I planted them, I put them in a raised bed, well mulched. My question is, in order to give them the best chance of surviving, would it be a good move to prune both of these plants back a bit? If so, how much? And should I fertilize now, or wait until later? Any advice on giving these plants the best chance for survival would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Jeff
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Top pruning at planting time is not physically beneficial to these or any other shrubs. You would only remove dead or damaged bits, in order to make the specimen look better to you.

    The more foliage they have now, the more root growth they can make later. With rhododendrons specifically you also want to have as much foliage overhead as possible, in order to help keep the roots cool.

    Fertilize if they look like they need to be greened up. Fall is a good time. Use one labeled for use on rhododendrons. Sprinkle the correct amount on top, water it in.

    If leaves are or become dusty- and blotched-looking, drop prematurely, to produce a gaunt appearance you have powdery mildew of rhododendron. This cropped up in British collections and then later became pervasive over here, around the 1990s. Many specimens have been spoiled or even killed since. Susceptibility varies with the variety.

    If you look at these now, discover that they are infested - perhaps the reason the neighbor discarded them - you might reconsider bothering to try and keep them going. It depends on how badly these particular ones are being affected or are going to be affected in future.

    Control involves spraying over and over, every year, with fungicides. You have to vary the product used in order to avoid selecting for resistance.
     
  3. pioniere

    pioniere Member

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    Thanks for the great advice!

    The plants aren't diseased, they had simply gotten too big for a small yard. So, I guess the only thing I need to do at this point is to pick up some rhododendron fertilizer.
     

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