The best time to prune rhododendrons is generally late winter. However, as the weather warms and buds begin to open, it’s a good idea to do some maintenance on your plants in order to ensure that they bloom well next spring. The best time for seasonal pruning is usually after the first hard frost but before new growth begins in early spring. So if you’re planning a June or July flower show, wait a few weeks until after the second hard frost and then take down any dead tops from last year’s blooms so that all of this summer’s flowers will have fresh energy for their blossoming cycles.
What kind of pruning tools should I use?
With Rhododendrons there are three basic types of cutting tool: hedge shears (clippers), loppers, and secateurs (for those plants with very short canes). A pair of garden shears or even heavy scissors work fine for small branches no more than 10 inches long; however anything longer than about 18-20 inches requires a sturdy pair of loppers with plenty of finger protection. Secateur handles should be made from wood or plastic rather than metal because steel tends to rust too easily in direct sunlight where salt spray also gets deposited quite readily on Ocean Front property during summer months along our coastline here at home! If you plan on using secateurs make sure they are not rusty as rusting secateurs can tear up plant tissue instead of cut through it clean