The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Azalea

Question: We have a very large azalea that has out grown the flower bed it is planted in, the bush is approximately 15 years old, we would like to move it to another location. What precautions should we use when transplanting and what is the best time of year for our region (Penna.) to do this?

Answer: You could move it in late summer/early fall or in very early spring. You will need to take as much of the root ball as possible and then trim it back proportionately to compensate for any root loss. Prepare the new location ahead of time and water the plant the day before you plan to dig it. Azaleas have a shallow root system but it is very wide, usually wider than the top of the plant, so start digging well away from the plant. The root ball will be very heavy, so you may wnat to slide it onto a tarp or plywood and drag it to the new planting spot. Replant at the same depth it grew before or a little bit higher to allow for settling, water it in well, then add several inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark over the root area but not touching the trunk. Make sure the soil stays moist but well drained, meaning not soggy until it freezes this fall and again next season while the plant becomes reestablished. If it is an evergreen variety you might also use an antitranspirant spray this winter to help guard against it drying out.

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