Another of the few blooms which are beginning to open (again due to extra exposure to sunlight)

Rhododendron Bloom Report: July 1, 2016

Hot and dry seems to have been the general condition for the month of June this year. Although there is evidence of a slight amount of rainfall at the grove (most likely it came and went in the form of a sudden quick shower), even the usually wet areas are dryer than “normal”. As shown in the included photos (all taken yesterday-6/30), a wide variety of bud and flower conditions can be seen here at Rhododendron State Park. Only two or three flowers are open in the entire grove, and to see those you will need to travel out to the bridge on the Rhododendron Loop trail just about halfway through.

flowers fully out-a very sunny spot at the bridge
flowers fully out-a very sunny spot at the bridge
Another of the few blooms which are beginning to open (again due to extra exposure to sunlight)
emerging flowers also in the same sunny spot
A swollen flower bud in a light shade area
A swollen flower bud in a light shade area
Rhododendron flower buds still tightly formed in a shaded area.
Flower buds starting to swell in even in the heavier shade-the bloom is on its way

Why are these blooming when nothing else is out? Perhaps because of the extra amount of sunlight this area gets. I have included a photo of yellowish looking leaves (chlorosis) to show what too much sun can do to a plant that normally grows and blooms quite well in shaded conditions. Ironically, extra light also can promote flower formation. Is this what is happening here? It sure seems so, but plants can be so mysterious…

Yellowish looking leaves (chlorosis) show what too much sun can do.
Chlorosis-too much sun
These  young leaves are wilted by the hot dry weather even in the shade
These young leaves are wilted by the hot dry weather even in the shade

In any case,  the hot dry weather we are in coupled with the mild winters we have seen recently may or may not have anything to do with this year’s “early” bloom time. I still feel somewhat safe in my opinion that the bloom will be a few days early this year, but keep “tuned” for more updates.

Tunnel of Giant Rhododendron
Tunnel of Giant Rhododendron

Mid-July is still a good time for “peak” bloom, even with a few early flowers here and there, and if we get some cool rainy weather in July (“Ha!” he says) it may go on a bit longer. Not likely, but it has certainly happened before.

Even in the driest of weather, the biting insects at the grove can be quite active, so come prepared.

Sign at the Junction of Rhododendron Loop Trail and Wildflower Loop.
Sign at the Junction of Rhododendron Loop Trail and Wildflower Loop.

The “mystery” tree that I mentioned a few weeks back is Nyssa sylvatica a.k.a. Blackgum a.k.a.Tupelo. Generally a long-lived tree, but becoming less and less common mainly due to habitat destruction, but does climate change also play a role? Probably.

Until next week,
Ted Lenk

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Ted Lenk

Ted Lenk is a Park Staffer at Monadnock State Park who also checks in regularly at Rhododendron State Park.

One thought on “Rhododendron Bloom Report: July 1, 2016

  1. Thanks for the update. When do the blooms usually peak? Would it be work a visit later this week? Or would next week be best?

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