Protecting from the weather
The flower buds of many rhododendrons (especially dwarf varieties) and evergreen azaleas can be damaged by cold weather and harsh winds. Erect a netting screen on the north and east sides of the plants to reduce the damage in severe weather. In very cold weather cover the plants with woven fibre frost-protection fleece or a similar lightweight material. Remove it during mild periods. If flower buds do become damaged, pinch them out to prevent the development and spread of fungal diseases.
Controlling coral spot
This is a good month to look for traces of the fungus disease, coral spot, particularly on weak or dead branches. Although this fungal disease does not normally kill plants, it can spread from dead growth to live growth under certain conditions. Cut any trees and shrubs that are affected back to healthy wood and then dispose of the prunings. Don’t put them on the compost heap.
A particular problem with rhododendrons is the development of suckers from the base of grafted plants. Cut back all suckers at their point of origin, as soon as you notice them.