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Old 04-29-2009, 05:46 AM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
909 posts, read 2,865,148 times
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We have these bushes all over our property. During the winter all the leaves were curled up and brown. Lately I've noticed that most of the leaves are nice and green. BUT, a good portion, usually on top, is still curled up and brown. Are they dead? Dormant? On close inspection I see that a single branch will have both nice green leaves and curled brown ones. The odd thing is that the brown leaves aren't dried up, just brownish orange.

Should I cut these off? Wait a while longer? None of the bushes have bloomed yet.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:17 PM
 
Location: The Shire !
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Go ahead and cut 'em back. Rhodies are very hardy and will bounce back quickly.

At least the ones I have do.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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one thing about rhododendrons - they are VERY EASY - whatever you decide to do will work.

you can cut them back, but it's not necessary - if you leave the withered leaves, new growth will soon sprout from the tops of the branches and cover the withered part, which will eventually fall off

if you cut them back - they will come back
if you don't cut them back - they will come back

once upon a time I would trim the tops if they had winter kill, but I don't bother anymore - it just ended up making the bushes smaller and if I leave them alone, they come back fuller and better than ever
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:13 AM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
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Wow, that hardy, eh? No wonder they're everywhere. Now when will they start blooming?
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:05 AM
 
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they vary - there are hundreds of types of rhododendrons - I have a deep pink one that has huge buds right now and will probably bloom in June - another next to it, is pinkish white with tiny blossoms and blooms a couple of weeks after the pink one

there is a park in the western part of the state - the Rhododendron State Park in Rindge - if you can find the time to go, you should check it out - it's a great walk (very easy) - there you will see a complete variety of the flowering trees

16 acres of wild rhododendrons that tower over your head as tall as maples, with other varieties all around, that usually bloom mid-July - it's a fabulous place and you can learn a lot about them
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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I would recommend waiting till after bloom if you're going to do any pruning. Rhodies bloom on last years wood, so if you trim, first thing to go will be those potential blossoms. The other thing is that rhodies are an acid-loving plant, so if you have pines nearby, your soil is probably already acidic. If not, this could be part of what's ailing them--you might want to take a pH test on your soil and consider adding some pine needles around the base of the bushes a couple times a year.

I have 20+ year old rhodies planted way too close to my foundation, so I do trim them back every other year (they are dense and less than 6' tall) However, the ones that are planted away from the house are huge and spreading and have MOUNDS of flowers each year.






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Old 05-01-2009, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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Buck, would love to see pictures of your rhodies--please share

One of my favorite places to visit, and especially beautiful in May and June (when the rhododendrons, azaleas, and many other ornamental trees and shrubs are blooming) is Maudsley State Park in Newburypor MA. Located on the banks of the Merrimack River, the former Moseley family estate is open to the public to enjoy walking, biking, horse back riding trails. The park contains a mix of 19th century gardens and plantings, rolling meadows, towering pines, and one of the largest naturally-occurring stands of mountain laurel in Massachusetts. In autumn it's equally spectaular with a mix of various maples, oaks, elm and evergreens. The only warning is that it's full of ticks at this time of year, especially of course the fields with long grass. Stick to the trails as much as possible, and do a thorough tick check when you're through. Enjoy if you go--it's a beautiful place
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
909 posts, read 2,865,148 times
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Wow Valerie! That is a amazing! As for pine needles, they're everywhere I was going to rake them away last fall but never got around to it. Glad to know they're good for something.

I'll take the majority advice and leave them alone until the blooming is done. I have no idea if there's anything wrong with them, the previous owner kinda let the bushes go hog wild. We trimmed and chopped stuff last fall, but pretty sure we left the rhodies alone.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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The cutting back trick works great for forsythia as well. If your bushes get to wispy...cut them back. If they are really overgrown...cut them back to within inches of the ground and in a few years they'll be REALLY dense.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Monadnock region
3,712 posts, read 9,336,988 times
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yeah, but if you're going to cut forsythia - it's best to cut them just after the blooms are gone, otherwise you cut off the buds for the following spring. That's about the only gardening tip I've ever maintained in my brown-thumbed brain.
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