The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Rhododendron Bush

Question: My Rhododendron was doing great. I had the plant for about
6 years now. It has no buds on it and the leaves are browning. I wanted to transplant it in another location as I feel the spot is too small for the root system to grow. When is the best time to do the transplanting? Every fall I gather the pine needles from my Blue spruce and put them around the Rhododendron for acidity? It is planted on the eastern side of my house.

Answer: The eastern exposure should (usually) be a good location for a rhododendron, so I am not sure moving it would help. Transplanting is in fact stressful for the plant. You might want to take a sample to your county extension (334-1234) and see if they can diagnose the cause of the browning and suggest what to do to remedy it. Browning can be caused by lack of moisture, excess winter wind, or pests or diseases. Sometimes, too, lack of fertility or too high a pH (if for example lime is leaching from a newer foundation) can cause problems. To check that, you would need to run some basic soil tests. They should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results as well.

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