Rhododendrons

Do you Need to Water Rhododendrons in the Summer? (When and How?)

Are you wondering if you need to water your rhododendrons in the Summer? Is rainwater sufficient for your rhododendrons? If supplemental watering is needed for Rhododendrons in the summer, how frequently should you be watering your rhododendrons? Similar to Azaleas, Rhododendrons have shallow root systems and will benefit from regular watering in the summer. The frequency of watering Rhododendrons will depend on whether or not your Rhododendrons are established or if your Rhododendrons are newly planted. 

Rhododendrons
Rhododendrons

How Frequent should you water established Rhododendrons in the summer?

If you have established Rhododendrons in your garden, then you should water your Rhododendrons once a week in the summer. Rhododendrons have shallow root systems and can easily dry out. Of course, if you skip a week or two of watering, your established Rhododendrons will survive. 

If there is a drought, you should water your Rhododendrons more than once a week to make sure they are getting enough water. Make sure to apply mulch around your rhododendrons to help them retain moisture during the warm summer months. 

How Frequent should you water your Rhododendrons in the Shade during summer? 

Rhododendrons are typically planted in shaded locations. If it is planted under large trees, this means your rhododendrons are directly competing with nearby tree roots for water. You need to pay close attention to your rhododendrons if it is planted under large trees.

If you think it is competing for water with nearby trees, then it’s best to water your rhododendrons twice a week. Also, mulch around your rhododendrons to help them retain moisture. If there is a dry spell or drought, water more frequently. Remember, the soil should be moist, not soggy! Don’t overwater!

How Frequent should you water Newly Planted Rhododendrons in the summer?

For newly planted rhododendrons, you need to make sure you give them enough water so they will establish a healthy root system. Water your newly planted rhododendrons 3 times a week.

For Rhododendrons that have been planted within the past 3 years, I suggest you keep up with the 3x a week watering schedule. You should still consider these Rhododendrons “newly planted.” Since your rhododendrons have shallow root systems, you don’t want the roots to dry out. You should water deeply rather than lots of frequent light watering.  

If your newly planted rhododendrons are under large trees, you should pay close attention to ensure your rhododendrons are getting the water it needs and not being outcompeted by the tree roots. Check that your rhododendrons look healthy and not looking wilted.

Watering Rhododendron
Watering Rhododendron

How to Water your Rhododendrons in the Summer

When you water your Rhododendrons in the summer, it is better to do a deep watering rather than frequent light watering. This will encourage their roots to grow down and deep, preventing shallow roots. Just make sure the soil is evenly moist and the soil is well-drained. The last thing you want to do is to let your Rhododendrons sit in soggy soil and develop root rot!

When to Water your Rhododendrons in the Summer?

It’s best to water your rhododendrons in the morning. If you can’t water your rhododendrons in the morning, late afternoon is also a good time to water your rhododendrons in the summer.

How to Know When to Water Rhododendrons in the Summer

Here are signs of when to give your rhododendrons supplemental water during the warm summer months. 

1. Dry Spell in the Summer

If you experience a few weeks of dry conditions in the summer, your Rhododendrons will benefit from water. Also, if you have a drought you should water your Rhododendrons.

Wilted Rhododendron
Wilted Rhododendron

2. Your Rhododendrons Looks Dried Out

If your Rhododendrons look wilted, then you should water them immediately. That is an obvious sign that your rhododendron needs supplemental watering. I suggest watering your wilted Rhodendron a few days in a row to revive it. 

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