Instructions: Rhododendron cutting - when is the perfect time?

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Can not find a sleeping eye on a branch even though it does not look dead? Then cut the twig back in half and just wait for the shootout. In the following year you cut the stub from old wood to 1 cm above the new budding. With this strategy you can save valuable wood on Rhododendron and use it for the new crown construction.
Tip: In the first two years after a rejuvenation cut, a rhododendron needs to regenerate. Do not plant the flowering shrub at this time, otherwise it will not expel you.

Cut noble hybrids in stages

Wild-cutted hybrids require a more moderate cut than robust, cuttings-augmented rhododendrons. A radical cut could encourage the pad to push through. In order to avoid this unfavorable process, we recommend a rejuvenation cut in two stages. This strategy is also advisable for those plant lovers who can not bring themselves to a radical blending. In these steps you do it right:
  • In the first winter cut off half of the branches to 30 to 50 cm
  • In the following year, shorten the remaining shoots to knee height
Thanks to this approach, your rhododendron does not lose all of its leaf mass in one go. Therefore, the game pad scents no chance to overgrow the upper Edelteil and does not or only minimally. If you see steeply uphill wild shoots, they can be cut off or torn off at any time.

Correct cutting during the flowering break

With an average annual growth of 5 to 10 cm, a rhododendron makes it slow after a pruning. It usually takes 3 to 4 years to regain a height of 150 cm with a dense foliage dress and magnificent flowering. With a slight shape cut in late winter, you can support a compact, even growth. For this purpose, until the end of February, cut remarkably long, unbranched neutrails until just before a leaf node. This cut is only carried out until the ornamental shrub grows buds again in late summer.

Wound closure - yes or no?

A pruning down to the old wood leaves wounds on imposing shrubs and trees. For many decades it was a matter of course to seal these cut surfaces with tree wax, paste or emulsion paint. Why, despite wound closure, the rhododendrons and other woody plants fell ill or even died away, remained a mystery for a long time. Intensive research has revealed that exactly in wound closure is the crux. The healing of cuts on wood is completely different than on human skin. A plaster hinders the self-healing powers of your rhododendron and paves the way for pathogens and fungi.
Along the edges of the cut, below the bark, there is a dividing cell tissue, the cambium. The cambium forms wound tissue (callus) in cut injuries, which covers the open area. If you apply wound closure to the cut surface, two damaging processes will start. The cambium is prevented from overflowing and healing the wound with fresh tissue. At the same time, microorganisms find ideal living conditions under the airtight layer of tree wax. This also applies if you use wound closure agents with fungicides. How to properly treat cut surfaces on rhododendron:
  • Always smooth cuts with a sharp, disinfected knife
  • In the spring, summer and autumn let the self-healing powers
  • After a winter cut, only cover the wound edges with wound closure


If a radical rejuvenation cut is made in late winter, a rhododendron is in its juice box. The cambium can not grow any wound tissue in this phase in order to overflow the cut surface. Since the valuable cell tissue is exposed, it is threatened by frost and dryness. With a thin layer of wound closure you protect the cambium until the beginning of the growing season.

Tips for care after the cut

A rejuvenation cut means a deep invasion of the growth of your rhododendron. To turn it back into an opulent flowering shrub, he needs a little more attention in the following years. The ornamental shrub starts again with the following care program:
  • Water regularly as soon as the soil has dried on the surface
  • Run the water from the pot directly onto the root disk
  • Use primarily rainwater or decalcified tap water
  • The roots shade with a mulch layer of foliage, pine bark or bark mulch
  • After a pruning fertilize with compost and horn shavings or special rhododendron fertilizer
  • Do not fertilize at the end of June, so that the shoots mature before the winter
As a rhododendron, a rhododendron relies on regular watering for dryness. This also applies to winter frost. If the winter sun shines for days on cloudless skies without snow falling, water the shrub on mild days. A mulching layer at least 5 cm high also effectively prevents drought stress.
Rhododendrons are easy-care flower beauties for the lush spring garden. The ornamental shrubs live up to this reputation without being cut every year. Only withered flowers can be plastered in June. When a rhododendron ages in advanced age, a rejuvenation cut will work wonders. The perfect time for the radical pruning is January through the end of February. At the same time, this appointment takes account of the strict provisions of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, which prohibits extensive cutting measures between 1 March and 30 September. What else to look out for when cutting the ornamental shrub, this guide sums it up.

Video Board: How to Propagate Rhododendrons with a Nearing Frame; Taking Cuttings in the Hoop House.

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