Triazole growth retardant chemicals may inhibit stem elongation of woody ornamental species for several years after application. Potted plants of large-leaf Rhododendron catawbiense and Kalmia latifolia were treated with a single spray application of paclobutrazol or uniconazole in the 2nd year from propagation. They were transplanted into the field the next spring. The elongation of stems was measured in the year of application and in the next 2–4 years. Treatments with a wide range of doses were applied in 1991, 1992, or 1995. For all except the most dilute applications, stem elongation was retarded in the year after application. At the highest doses, stem growth was inhibited for 2 years after application. The results were fit to a model of growth regulator action which assumed that stem elongation was inversely related to the amount of growth regulator applied. For paclobutrazol, the dose per plant that inhibited stem elongation half as much as a saturating dose was tenfold that for uniconazole, about 0.5 and 0.05 mg, respectively. For both chemicals, the dose-response coefficient decreased exponentially with time after application, with an exponential time constant of about 2 year−1. A dose of growth regulator which reduced stem elongation by half immediately after application would only inhibit 12% of stem elongation the next year. However, a tenfold greater dose would result in less than half the stem elongation of untreated plants in the next year.