Damage Recovery for Rhododendrons

Damage Recovery from Invasive Trees

Our visitors often ask if rhododendrons will recover after severe pruning or breakage. This Halfdan Lem illustrates what is possible. (Not all kinds of rhododendrons will do this.) See below.

The main trunk of the plant broke off in a windstorm, leaving only one small spur. Normally, it has very large leaves.

In the 1930s, my father and grandfather collected wild rhododendrons that had been chewed to the ground by cows in the southern Appalachian mountains. Within a few years, they grew into very dense plants


In two years, that small spur put out many shoots and leaves. It is now a healthy plant, setting flower buds for next year's blooms.

The large root system of a mature plant promoted rapid recovery. This picture was taken three years after the top photo.