Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
April 8, 2017
This year I do think I need to prune my rhododendrons. I originally had three of
them in my front yard and read instructions on how to prune, so several years ago
I did this to one of them and it promptly died. This year the biggest (about eight
feet) needs to be pruned back. The top branches look dead to me but I am afraid to
touch it after what happened to its sister. I had a chance to read your article recently on pruning but saw nothing on the rhododendrons. I love these plants. Not many people
are able to grow them here but mine have just been beautiful. People stop every year
to find out what they are as they are not a 'familiar' plant. My daughter in Oregon
grows them, and they really thrive there. If you can just give me some advice as
to when and where to prune, I might have the courage to do it.
Rhododendrons do not normally thrive in Arkansas like they do in Oregon, but there
are gardeners who have success. The time to prune them is immediately following bloom.
I would not prune off more than 1/3 of the branches. Selectively prune out a few branches
back to the branch collar. Take off the minimum amount of growth that you need to.
Lightly fertilize with an azalea fertilizer after pruning and pay attention to watering
February 4, 2017
We just built a new home and there is no landscaping. I want to use azaleas for foundation
plants. Our home faces west and we have no shade at this time. In researching azaleas/rhododendrons
I have found several varieties that suggest they prefer full sun. However, I've mostly
been told that this is a "no-no" around here and that the afternoon sun will do them
in. What are the differences between rhododendrons and azaleas? Could you suggest
alternate plants if you feel that azaleas will not work for us?
Azaleas are members of the rhododendron family, and closely related, but they are
quite different in ease of care --at least here in Arkansas. We do quite well with
azaleas, but struggle with rhododendrons. Rhododendrons should never be planted in
full sun—they need morning sun and afternoon shade. For full sun, there are some
of the repeat blooming azaleas such as Encore that will take full sun, but they will
need ample water. I would definitely recommend establishing them in the spring, so
they have all spring and summer to get a root system in place before winter. Think
about the rollercoaster ride we had this past winter. In full sun it can make them
more susceptible to winter damage. Some other options for blooming shrubs in full
sun include summer blooming spirea, althea or Rose of Sharon, Ninebark, and two that
would do well in all but the NW part of Arkansas, Indian hawthorn and loropetalum.
May 21, 2016
I have a 12 year old rhododendron that has just finished blooming and it is 10 ft.
tall and very leggy with nearly 4 feet of bare limbs at the bottom. Do I dare try
to prune? How would you recommend.
Rhododendrons are not the most forgiving plants, nor do they rebound quickly, since
they often just finish bloom when the weather starts to heat up. Try to selectively
thin out one third of the older growth to a bud or set of leaves down lower on the
stem. Do one third of the branches this year, one third next year and one third the
following year. Follow up with a dose of azalea/camellia fertilizer and keep them
watered. Over time you should be able to thicken them up a bit.
April 9, 2016
I live in NW AR. About 4 years ago we planted two rhododendron plants in our yard.
One is on the west side of the house and gets no morning sun and filtered afternoon
light. The other is on the North side of the house in a bed and receives morning sun
but shade in the afternoon. They both have grown and last year each one bloomed, however
the foliage of the one on the north has been a pale green since about the first year.
They both have buds now so I expect both will bloom. Both have been fed with acid
loving plant fertilizer each spring (after blooming last year). The one on the north
is sickly looking but continues to grow and bloom. I have turned in a soil specimen
for exam but have not yet received results. I’m wondering if too much sun could be
the problem. In the past all soil samples have been on the acid side which I thought
would be good.
Rhododendrons do need a very acidic soil. If the pH is too alkaline (too high) it
can lead to yellowing leaves but the veins typically are green. See what the results
of your soil sample look like. I would think morning sun would be fine for the rhododendrons.
They struggle in hot, dry summers, but they typically either need morning sun or filtered
sunlight in order to set flower buds. Are they both planted shallow? Is drainage
the same? Rhododendrons like a well-amended and well-drained soil. If they are planted
too deep or if the soil retains too much moisture they can struggle. If they are
setting flower buds I would say they are getting some of the needed conditions for
growth. After bloom, fertilize and see how they do.
I live in Northwest Arkansas and would like to plant some shrubs and trees in my new
yard, but I will be leaving soon to spend the summer back up north. Is it ok to plant
now, water well and mulch and still have plants left when I return, or should I wait
until I come back this fall to plant? Since I am gone all summer, I prefer plants
that bloom in the spring or fall. I love azaleas, dogwoods and rhododendrons.
If you plan to leave every summer, then invest in a good sprinkler system with a timer,
and have a friend or neighbor check to make sure it is working. While there are drought
tolerant plants, it is a rare summer that we can go an entire summer season without
supplemental watering. New plants, regardless of their drought hardiness once established,
must have regular watering the first year they are planted. I prefer to plant azaleas
in the spring and early summer, however, no newly planted plant would survive a month
without water in the summer, much less the entire summer, if we have no natural rainfall.
Rhododendrons are best planted in the fall, as are dogwood trees. Fall planting is
preferable for many plants, but don’t plant any of these unless you have an irrigation
system. None of the plants you mentioned are drought tolerant.
All links to external sites open in a new window. You may return to the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture web site by closing this window when you
are finished. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information, or the accessibility
for people with disabilities listed at any external site.
Links to commercial sites are provided for information and convenience only. Inclusion
of sites does not imply University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's approval
of their product or service to the exclusion of others that may be similar, nor does
it guarantee or warrant the standard of the products or service offered.
The mention of any commercial product in this web site does not imply its endorsement
by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture over other products not
named, nor does the omission imply that they are not satisfactory.