Rhododendron deer damage
Hi. We just discovered that one of our rhododendrons has been severely damaged by a wandering deer (we found the tracks in the snow). About 75% of this young plant's leaves and leaf stems were eaten. The plant was bought from a nursery two years ago, and it was not large yet. It had not yet produced blooms.
I liked it because it was a stocky variety that had a good foliage-to-branch ratio - the nurseryman said it was field grown, so had not become leggy searching for sunlight.
My question is: can this plant recover without becoming leggy? How likely is it to put out buds and new leaves lower on the existing branches, or will most or all new green development occur at the ends of the branches?
I rather dislike spindly rhododendrons. And I've seen many of those, both natural (wild) and cultivated.
Thanks for your opinions.