The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Azaleas

Question: We are about to have a patio put on the back of our house and have very well established Azaleas along the back wall. We want to move them to the front of the house. What is the best way to prepare the soil, what additives are necessary to make sure they still have the beautiful blooms that they have all along. There are other azaleas in the front where these are going, but they were crowded by boxwoods which we took out last summer.(we purchased the house with all the shrubs badly in need of care). They seem to be doing very well. We just don't want to loose these older plants as they truely are beautiful.
Thank you for your help.

Answer: Azaleas require a humusy, acid soil that is evenly moist yet well drained meaning not soggy. You will need to have your soil tested and add amendments based on the results. You will also probably need to add organic matter such as compost or old rotted leaves (oak leaves are great because they are acidic). Prepare the planting area ahead of time and water the azaleas to be moved the day before you do it. Carefully dig the root ball -- it will be wide rather than terribly deep -- and transplant them immediately to their new location. You may have to place them on a tarp and drag them as they will be heavy! Replant no deeper (azaleas are very snesitive to planting depth) than they grew before and water them in. Add several inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark and keep the soil moist yet not soggy. If you think you have left behind a significant amount of roots, trim them back by a third to a half to compensate for the loss.

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