From:Ardsley , NY Region: Northeast Topic: Propagation Title: Restoring and propagating rhododendrons Answered by: Joe Marcus
I have 70+ year old native rhododendrons (16+ feet high) in my backyard. After all these years they are beginning to get dammaged by snow load and ice. Therefore I have 2 quesitons concerning these bushes that I absolutely love:
1) I would like to propogate baby plants from these giants - what is the best method to do so and where can I find step by step directions on the process?
2) I don't want to lose any of these wonderful giants - what can I do to ensure their continued health as they get to be 'senior citizens'? Specifically they are beginning to get flattened by the snow and ice and are no longer upright. Any suggestions?
Thank you so much!
You are to be commended for you dedication to preserving your wonderful old rhododendrons!
You have several choices for propagating your plants. Seed propagation may be possible if your rhododendrons produce seeds that you can collect. However, it is often difficult to find viable seed on some species. Cutting propagation is a good alternative and allows for a lot of choices about where to plant the offspring, etc. Like seed propagation though, cutting propagation is not without difficulties. For most species, timing is critical and often only trial-and-error will yield success. Ground layering and air layering are probably the most fool-proof methods of propagating rhododendrons.
Rhododendrons should be pruned after they finish flowering in the spring. Yours probably could use a good pruning. However, due to the advanced age of your plants, you will want to be judicious about cutting them back. Limbs that have been crushed, bent or broken by snow and ice should be removed. Otherwise, prune your plants with the goal in mind of reshaping them and removing old, diseased or unproductive limbs..
Kinnikinnick for a green roof July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants,
I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and... view the full question and answer
Protecting agave pups in San Antonio April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the... view the full question and answer
Plant cloning or genetic engineering February 23, 2012 - Can you take one genome (strain) and take a clean cut and put onto another plant another strain? view the full question and answer
Allelopathc qualities in sunflowers June 19, 2007 - I have a sunflower patch in the corner of my backyard (Maximilians, common sunflower, and silverleaf sunflower)and would like to use the spent stalks (sans the seedheads) as mulch in the fall. Howeve... view the full question and answer