1st Rhododendron

chappy56

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I potted my first Rhododendron today and am looking for any advise I could get. Any websites, books or advise would be welcome. I'm in zone 5.
 

cantstopsmilin

Sapling
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Rocklin, CA
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search on google and this site, as well as BT :) if you want advice on styling or what to do with the tree, try posting a picture :)
 

chappy56

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Okay, here's the picture. I tried to clean up the background a little to make the tree a little easier to see.
And I'm in central Illinois Nut. Bloomington/ Normal to be exact.
 

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emk

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Columbus, OH
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I got a few small Rhododendron impeditum this year, which look very similar in foliage and habit to the photo you posted. One thing I can advise if to dead-head the flowers after they are done blooming (which it looks like you've done). While I've read that they can be severely pruned (even trunk-chopped) after flowering, my experience was this: I pruned to the point of almost completely defoliating one of my Rhodo's. Within a week new buds were showing up as green dots all along the remaining trunk and branches. Then, a week later, the remaining leaves dropped and these buds turned brown. Now the tree appears to be lifeless. My other Rhodo's are happy and healthy and they were all treated the same and were in the same shady conditions. So, unless you have trees to spare (like I did in this case), I would advise against deeply pruning more than one area of the tree at a time or risk losing the whole tree...or just do more research and figure out how you can avoid my mistakes. :D
 

cantstopsmilin

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here's my experience, found a rhody, dug it up with a ton of roots, chopped it like crazy till there was nothing left but two main trunks, no leaves or anything, stuck it in a pot that it barely fit in, a couple days later, attacked it and took off a bunch of the roots, potted it up again so it would have more space, and it is doing great :) i did all my chopping while it was flowering, so as far as i have learnt it can be cut back hard and root pruned hard and be fine :)
 

emk

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here's my experience, found a rhody, dug it up with a ton of roots, chopped it like crazy till there was nothing left but two main trunks, no leaves or anything, stuck it in a pot that it barely fit in, a couple days later, attacked it and took off a bunch of the roots, potted it up again so it would have more space, and it is doing great :) i did all my chopping while it was flowering, so as far as i have learnt it can be cut back hard and root pruned hard and be fine :)
I think the difference is that you're talking about a mature, established plant and the Rhodo he has pictured (and what I was talking about) is a young plant with a pencil-/finger-thin trunk. I imagine that your plant had plenty of energy and nutrients stored up in its "flesh" to get it going after a trunk-chop while our little guys just don't have those kind of resources yet.
 

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