Rhododendron in spring
The rhododendron is wonderful. Recently, winter-hardy varieties have appeared that can overwinter in cold climates. This evergreen shrub remains ornamental all year round. Brilliant leaves and the original shape of the bush make it possible to use it in single plantings, landscape compositions, as a hedge. During flowering, it becomes the brightest accent in the garden. To admire an exotic plant on your own site, you need to learn how to properly care for it.
How to plant rhododendrons in spring
Rhododendron is relatively hardy, but has certain requirements for growing conditions. Be sure to choose seedlings that can overwinter in your climate.
The choice of site depends on the variety. Deciduous rhododendrons grow well in areas open to the sun, evergreens need partial shade. It is great if it is possible to place the bushes next to an artificial or natural reservoir. From dry winds and cold northern wind, the territory should be protected by tall shrubs, trees or buildings. Planting in places where seasonal stagnation of water on the soil surface is possible should be abandoned or a drainage system should be made, plants should be planted on mounds.
The soil needs to be acidic (pH 3-5), indicator strips, which are sold in garden stores, will help to check these indicators. The best soil is a mixture of sand and peat. If it is not possible to use peat, compost, good humus, will do. For 1 bush you will need at least 3 buckets of organic fertilizers.
Planting rhododendrons in spring in open ground
You can prepare for landing in advance. Choose seedlings with a closed root system. They are grown in containers in which they go on sale. In our online store you will find just such magnificent varieties with different flowering periods and petal colors. Planting a rhododendron in the spring is not difficult at all, follow simple rules.
- A landing pit is needed 60 * 60 and 30-40 cm deep. Fill the bottom with the prepared mixture of sand and organic fertilizers. If the site has heavy clay soil, make the pit twice as wide, but shallow, 20 cm is enough. On sandy soil, the minimum dimensions of the pit are 80 * 80, the depth is at least 50 cm. The following soil mixture options are considered the best for rhododendron: leafy soil, coarse sand (proportions 3:162:1), peat, coniferous litter, sawdust, sand of medium fraction (proportions 2:1:1:1).
- Planting begins with the preparation of seedlings. They are very carefully removed with a clod of earth from the container, then put into the water. When all the soil is saturated with water, you can start planting. In a hole prepared in advance, filled with a moist nutrient substrate, a depression is made in the center. A seedling with a clod of earth is positioned so that the root neck is strictly at ground level. It can not be buried, it threatens the death of the plant. The soil around is lightly compacted and watered. Around the seedling form a side of the earth for easy watering. When the earth has completely settled, it must be leveled, leaving a small depression near the roots.
Mulching will help smooth out changes in soil moisture and protect young bushes from weeds. The best material can be considered coniferous litter and sour peat.
Attention! When planting, consider the size of an adult bush! In cramped conditions, flowering will be flawed or stop altogether. Watering the rhododendron
The plant is moisture-loving, any drying of the soil can be fatal. The best option would be an automatic irrigation system or drip irrigation. If it is not possible to install such systems, water the rhododendron often. In dry hot weather 2-3 times a week, 15 liters of water per bush, in cool 1-2 times, in the rainy period, it is necessary to first assess the soil moisture at a depth of 5-8 cm.
Feeding rhododendron in spring
Rhododendron usually grows slowly, so its nutrient requirements are relatively small. The first 2-3 years, the number of top dressings should be limited. During this period, a double application of complex fertilizers is sufficient. It is advisable to use specialized mixtures for rhododendrons. If it is not possible to buy ready-made mineral fertilizers, you can prepare the mixture yourself. Mix ammonium sulfate (9 parts), superphosphate (10 parts), potassium sulfate (4 parts) and 2 parts magnesium sulfate. The prepared mixture is applied at the rate of 100 grams per 1 square meter of the near-stem circle when the buds begin to swell, repeating the procedure is recommended at the end of flowering. In summer, when flower petals fall off, 50 grams per 1 square meter is enough.
Organic fertilizers rhododendron are fed twice or thrice per season. In spring and autumn, sour high-moor peat is brought under the bush; at the beginning of flowering, let’s water it with infusion of nettle or dandelion.
Important! Do not use fresh cow dung! It can cause root burns, promotes the appearance of fungal and viral diseases, contains germinating weed seeds.
Caring for rhododendron after winter
The question of when to open a rhododendron in spring does not have a definite answer. You need to be aware of the weather. When the first thaws begin, the snow will melt so much that the shelter can be removed, and work begins. The first time you need to air the plant so that rot and mold do not appear. Usually this time falls on the second half of March — the beginning of April. Choose a cloudy day so that the leaves do not get sunburned. By evening, the shelter is put in place, but is not tightly closed, leaving small holes for ventilation. You can completely remove the shelter when the ground thaws by 20-25 cm or at a time when the air temperature rarely drops below zero. The first days protect the bush from direct sunlight.
Caring for rhododendrons in the spring includes sanitary pruning. After removing the shelter, the condition of the plant is assessed. At this time, frostbitten and broken branches are already clearly visible, some leaves change color to brown. All these parts of the plant must be cut. The bush will quickly recover, by the autumn new shoots grow, which lay flower buds. In order to prevent diseases and the appearance of pests, the old mulch is removed and a new one is laid. Fungal spores and overwintering larvae are usually located in the upper layer, which must be disposed of.
Now you know how to plant a rhododendron in the spring and how to take care of it later, which means you will succeed! And even some of the difficulties in growing and caring for rhododendron should not frighten lovers of beauty. And in addition, we will reveal some secrets to you and give you useful tips on caring for the «rose tree».