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Does any one have any advice on hard pruning a rather overgrown Rhodedendron?
You can remove any dead, broken or diseased stems now when there is no frost about but should then wait till it's flowered this spring to cut back what's left to at least one pair of leaves. Give it a good feed suitable for ericeous plants. In future, keep it tidy by trimming once flowering is over.
This is what the RHS has to say about pruning evergreen shrubs - http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?PID=168
If they're particularly overgrown, ie not been pruned in say, 20 years or more you can rejuvenate them over the course of a few years. You need to take a small proportion of old wood right down to approx 18" .5m. Never more than third of the whole plant. You can leave it , as obelixx says, until after it's flowered, but flowering takes a lot of energy and that energy could be directed into new growth at the expense of the flowers. Your choice there. I managed to get some Rhodos back to manageable tidy plants which had never been pruned since they had been planted in the late 20s. It took a long time and a great deal of patience. Don't be tempted to cut them down to stumps and expect success. Patience is the only way .