How to best prune a rhodo eaten by deer

jag24April 12, 2008

This winter deer attacked a 8 ft high rhodo when we were away for a week.

All the branches they could reach were eaten.

So now there are a few branches between 5-7 ft high, and a few below 1 ft

that must have been covered by snow.

Should I just cut it all back to 1 ft high. Will it survive?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No do not cut back that severely. Selecltively prune with what you can live with and add some acid fertilizer and possibly dig a trench around the perimeter and add compost or manure for the new roots to grow into.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The rhodo doesn't look good without leaves in the middle. Those branches don't show any signs of life.
How can I tell if the middle section (1ft - 5ft) Will fill back in next year if I leave it?
Pruning it back to 1 ft would only be removing half of the current leaves.

The fertilizing is good suggestion - I have don it most years in the spring

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 4:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Rhododendrons have dormant buds under the bark. If you prune the top and other existing branches back a little, it will stimulate a lot of new growth. It will eventually fill in. Make sure you protect it with deer netting next winter. If it is hit like this 2 year in a row, it will have used up its reserves and will seriously suffer. One year of deer damage is normally not a serious problem. A mature rhododendron can take a year with a drought or deer damage but two in a row is bad news.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow rhododendrons and azaleas.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 6:42PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best rhoderdendron for my area zone 7b Ga.
Looking for a 4ft red,pink or white with a long bluming...
Yaks for Richmond, VA?
I am considering two Rhodies for a small, shaded, urban...
Rhody leaves getting smaller every year
Hi! I have a rhododendron (I think it's a loreley)....
Please help me identify this azalea
When I purchase my house, it had a beautiful azalea...
Can anyone identify?
Hi these are two azaleas that we have had here since...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™