The Q&A Archives: Transplanted Azalea has Yellow Leaves

Question: We transplanted a large (5'H x 8'W) azalea to a new location with the about the same sun exposure. We've watered it 1x a week, but the leaves are turning yellow.

Based on reading your other questions/answers, I'm not sure whether to fertilize or not at this point in the fall (mid-November). This is a lovely old azalea, and is providing screening for us. Other azaleas and rhodendrons are growing in this area, so I believe the soil is good (although I've not tested it).

Answer: Based on your description I am not sure if there is a problem or not. It is not a good idea to fertilize plants still in active growth this late in the season, as it may encourage new growth that will not have time to harden off before winter. If the soil is too alkaline, however, you could amend the pH gradually starting now and working toward the ideal. Make sure that the soil is evenly moist yet not soggy thorughout the area where the roots are; also maintain several inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark over that area. To be safe you might really also want to run a soil test and make sure the soil is acid, but if the leaves are turning evenly yellow I would hazard a guess that it is one of those azaleas that colors in the fall and then loses its leaves. Finally, although it is possible to move such a large plant it is also very stressful on the plant. Make sure to water it as needed until the ground freezes (check the soil with your finger) and erect a wind break for it this winter if it is in a windy spot. If you have doubts about it you might want to take a sample to the County Extension (489-4315) and see if they have any further suggestions. Best of luck!

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