rhodenderon are practically taking over our garden. They haven't been pruned in years. When is the best time to do it and how brutal can I be with my pruning?
Pretty brutal Buddy! Best done after flowering so you could do some now. If they haven't been touched in years you'll have to bear in mind that hard pruning this year will mean losing flowers next year and they might take longer than that to fully come back. You could also do it in stages - take back a foot or two this year and the same next year. Whatever you do, give them a good feed and water afterwards, and clear all the debris away round them and mulch well.
It depends how keen you are to keep them - if there are too many don't be frightened to take some out completely to give you space for something different. the ground will need some nourishment first if you do that. Rhodies take a lot out of the ground
Thank you for your suggestions, Fairygirl. I will post a picture next year once I have done the pruning.
I inherited a mature one in this garden when I moved in two years ago. Last year I hacked it back a fair bit and it still flowered well this year. They grow well here though, because we have the right conditions for them. Good luck with it
I've hacked some of mine back as well over the past 2-3 weeks just after they finished flowering (I've done this before too over the past 15 years). As Fairygirl mentioned, it's a good idea to do it in stages - take 1/3rd out now, 1/3rd out next year and 1/3rd out the year after that. I took this years 1/3rd right back to ground level, the stems were about 4ft long.
We had one here when we moved in - a neat bun shape, very pretty. Over the years it grew into a larger bun, then larger and larger. Still beautiful. Then one side began to die back as it was over shadowed and it began to get harder to walk round it and we had to do something. Last year, after 30 years, I cut it all down to the ground. It was growing on a slope and had layered itself on the uphill side till it was over 8 metres across! I found a few young stems that still made a passable starter shrub and left them, and it flowered on those this spring. I'm still working on getting the root and the main stumps out but will get there eventually - hopefully in less time than it had to grow!