Secateurs should be kept away from rhododendrons

Keen gardeners should take a finger and thumb approach to dealing with the old flower heads of rhododendrons rather than opting for secateurs or scissors, it has been suggested.

Answering a reader question sent into the Daily Telegraph, Helen Yemm notes that the heads should not be "snipped" off as this can damage the buds that will be responsible for next years flowers.

She answered through the news provider: "The reason for this is that the tiny buds that will eventually bear next years flowers are situated immediately under those irritatingly ugly old flower heads.

"It is almost impossible not to damage or remove them completely by mistake if you take secateurs or even scissors to the job."

Therefore, Ms Yemm suggests that gardeners should take a more patient approach and let the remains of the old flower heads dry up.

By waiting, gardeners will be able to snap any heads off while avoiding next years buds which will have become larger and more obvious.

Gardeners should ensure that rhododendrons do no become suffocated by other plants, while they are also known to be prone to attacks by caterpillars.