Bark on rhododendron split?

Asked May 31, 2018, 8:40 AM EDT

I moved into a home with a rhododendron. It has rather leggy branches and is in full bloom. After a heavy rain overnight I see the branches drooping. Looking at the trunk, there is splitting in the bark. Is there something I should do to help this lovely plant? Photos are from before and after the rain plus a close up on the trunk

Kalamazoo County Michigan

1 Response

Thank you for contacting Ask An Expert.

There could be a couple things wrong with your rhododendron. I've attached some links to help you sort through this. It's very sad when a beautiful shrub is not doing well.

The bark split probably was due to excess water and our early hard freezes last fall. The drooping branches after heavy rains might be a fungal problem. Read through the links and see if you find help there dealing with your shrub.

With rhododendrons cultural considerations are important. I've attached information on how to care for your shrub in your new home! If the bark split is not completely around the stem your bush should recover given proper care.

http://ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/plant_pathology_and_ecology/common_pr...
https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6825
http://rhodyman.net/rhodynho.php#anchor1429360