The Q&A Archives: Azalas

Question: I am getting ready this spring to landscape my front yard. I have beautiful pink azalas that have been there for over 15 years. I want to move them because we are adding on a front porch. How do I move azalas and what time of year should I do this?

Answer: It is better to move them in early spring or in early fall. Water them well the day before you move them. Dig them up with as much of the rootball as possible. Azalea roots are not terribly deep (go about eight inches down) but stretch out wider than the branches. A plant with roots and soil will be heavy, so be prepared with helpers to move them. You may want to slide them onto a tarp and then drag it to the new location or carry them in a wheelbarrow, for example. Replant immediately into prepared soil, set them no deeper or a little higher than they grew before. This is important because planting them too deeply will damage the roots and kill the plants. If you lost a lot of the roots in the digging, trim the plant back proportionately to compensate. Water to settle the soil and then mulch with an organic mulch. Then water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist (not sopping wet) until they reestablish. They may not bloom at all well the spring following the move. Good luck with the move!

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