New Summer Growth on Rhododendrons - August 2023

I was away from the yard and garden for more than a week recently, so on a recent walkabout, I noticed a few new things - or seemingly new (to me).  One of those new (to me) things was all the Summer growth on the pair of Rhododendrons in our backyard.   There are two of these tropical-looking shrubs that I transplanted from our back stoop to the feet of the Dawn Redwood in the back.  They suffered and struggled in the stoop area for what I think are multiple reasons (the conditions AND the fact that there are Chipmunks eating the roots) and while I didn't want to just toss them out, I didn't have much hope that they'd come back strong.

That's why I'm surprised at seeing all this new growth on the tips of these.  Are they (now) thick and full shrubs?  No.  But, are they showing signs of life that is surprising?  Yep.  See the photo at the top of this post that shows off the new five-or-so inches of growth that has pop'd-off on the tips of the branches.

There are buds that have been set, too.  Which...I think is a bit early, no?   Back in October of 2019, I documented an odd Fall bloom on these - I described them as 'confused' then.  Perhaps...they'll repeat that behavior this year and bloom out of season?  Could it be transplant stress that has pushed them to set buds early?

This Summer, I came across some spectacular rhdodendrons on Cape Cod.  We're talking TOWERING rhododendons that were quite happy in the shade.  Below are a few photos showing these evergreen shrubs in Brewster on Cape Cod:

Below is another look at a mixed shade shrub bed with some hydrangeas and rhododendrons that were just finishing up their blooms in the understory of both deciduous and conifer trees.

Will mine ever get that big?  Not a chance - at least that was my take before seeing this recent growth.  But, maybe they're taking to their new location?  The rhodos will never be 'right' in that space until I do something with the Dawn Redwood.  I've learned my lesson and don't touch/prune any young trees, but it is starting to get a 'skirt' with some REALLY long lower branching.   Once the Dawn Redwood tree gets bigger, I can limb-it-up and give the rhododendrons (if they're still alive) some room to spread out. feels like it gives me something to put on my 2024 to-do list:  Prune back some lower limbs on the youngest of two trees - Dawn Redwood, Bald Cypress.  


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