Over the past few years that I’ve been working full time with my father I’ve noticed an alarming amount of so called “landscapers” trimming rhododendrons incorrectly. This also applies to other shrubs such as PJM, Azalea, Japanese Andromedas as well as others. They trim the shrubs with gas machines. This is 100% incorrect. It’s a fast way out that damages the shrubs and inhibits the process with which they grow and flower. As a matter of fact we had a customer that used another local company to trim their rhododendrons 2 years ago and they STILL haven’t flowered again! This is a terrible practice that we will never do. We will never substitute speed for quality or in this case the correct practices. The correct way to trim rhododendrons is as follows. First you remove dead branches, this is done with hand pruners or sometimes a handsaw/larger pruners are necessary. When it is time to trim or shape, you simply take your pruners prune down to the next level (technical term is whorl). That is as simple as it can get. The average landscaper doesn’t have the skill or in most cases care to take the time to learn and do it properly. This is something that truly bothers me. You are essentially destroying a shrub by using a machine (in this case). I guarantee that I can trim a rhododendron properly with my hand pruners, just as fast as someone can with a machine can. The difference? My shrub will be done correctly and will flower next year! I am including a photo of what I mean by levels or whorls. I hope you all can learn to spot if your shrubs are being trimmed incorrectly.
Have a great day! Ronny Maggio Jr