Peeling bark on large, older rhodie

Asked February 28, 2015, 6:42 PM EST

I live in Olympia, WA. I have a large, beautiful rhodie, has large purple clusters, very nice scent. The bark started peeling a few years ago, on trunk and up some big branches. Otherwise looks good, well shaped, nice big buds.
It grows very near a very tall fir tree, gets sun and shade about equally. I have lived here 30 years and
watched it grow from about 10-12 feet tall to now well over 15-20. It is gorgeous when in bloom, and looks good when not blooming, but the bark is a concern. The squirrels play in and around it also, but not enough to cause all the peeling.
Ideas?? Thank you!!!

Thurston County Washington

1 Response

Sounds like the rhododendron is in good health. At this point, look along the trunk and branches for dead wood and monitor the shrub for any dieback. Usually in the mid-atlantic rhododendrons do not reach the heights you mentioned. It may be helpful to look at our rhododendron publication for more information.
You should also contact your extension as there may be different species of the plant as well as different problems in your region. Perhaps this may even be a normal occurrence.