Some species may require five years to bloom. Young rhododendrons have to form a framework of branches before they flower. Curious to see if the shrub would recover on its own, I trimmed it back a bit, cut back the scaffold of branches to as pleasing a shape as possible, and waited to see what would happen. It has been observed that the inner parts of the bark of the dying branches develop a reddish brown discoloration. If the plant has been long-neglected, it likely will be necessary first to cut out a tangle of dead branches. I cut off a portion of the dead branch and in its cross section found a dead giveaway of a clue. 1. The former is a naturally occurring phenomenon that takes place as the result of changing weather patterns and doesn't necessarily indicate a dead plant. Crawl beneath the rhododendron and look for lower branches you want to remove to achieve the shape you desire. Consult a local Master Gardener whenever you encounter plant problems. Then remove cross branches and weak wood. I’m always very curious about why plants and their parts fail to thrive, so I investigated a bit. When the last of the pine tree was removed, I discovered that the damage was surprisingly slight, except for a beautiful Rhododendron ‘Roseum Elegans’, now a 2-foot mound of broken branches and torn foliage. I don't usually prune away dead wood on my rhodies until mid-June to early July because by then, I can tell what is dead rather than winter damaged. Rhododendrons have the ability to start new buds from under the bark on what look like bare branches, so as long as the wood is alive, the plant will recover. Remove excess branches to give remaining ones room to grow. The most common rhododendron disease is stem dieback, which is characterized by death of the branches, in an otherwise healthy plant. A good way to start to prune a rhododendron is to crawl under it, look up, and decide what structural changes are needed. The two primary reasons that rhododendron leaves turn brown are cold weather and rhododendron wilt. Bring a section of leaves with you, and a soil sample if possible. This condition is caused by a fungus called Botryosphaeria dothidea. A dead branch on a rhododendron caught my eye. The latter is …

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