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Rhododendron Damaged from Rose Cone

We bought a rhododendron last year.  We covered it with a rose cone for the winter.  When I removed the cone in spring the leaves were falling off and the buds looked dead.  If I cut back the bush, will it come back this summer?  Or normally do you leave it in a pot and bring it in-doors over the winter?

Rhododendrons do best in a sheltered location like the east side of a building. They need protection form the winter wind and winter sun.  A burlap screen or cylinder of hardware cloth filled with evergreen boughs can provide added insulation.  A rose cone may get too warm and damage the overwintering plant.  At this point I would wait and see what happens.  Once new growth begins, and we are thinking positively, prune off the dead wood.  Don't be overly anxious to pull it out of the ground.  It may re-sprout from the roots.  Be sure the plant is watered thoroughly and often enough to keep the roots moist but not overly wet. Do not fertilize.  Allow the plant time to recover.  Next spring you can use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer if you feel the plant needs a nutrient boost.


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