The Q&A Archives: Azalea

Question: When is the best time to move/re-plant a mature azalea? What products are best to use to nourish the soil for azaleas?

Answer: Mature Azaleas can be transplanted successfully if it is done carefully and they are well cared for afterwards until they become reestablished. If flowering is important to you, wait until after the flowers fade to move the plant. If flowering is not important, you can move it now. Water the azalea well the day before you plan to move it. Prepare the new planting location immediately ahead of time, then dig up the azalea. These shrubs are shallow rooted but the roots can run very wide, so dig carefully and take as much of the root ball as possible. It can be extremely heavy so you may need help. It may also be easier to place it on a tarp or sheet of plywood and drag it than try to carry it. If the top growth makes it impossible to dig, then trim it back as needed. It will regrow relatively quickly due to the large root system, and a bit of pruning will also help balance any root loss during digging. Replant immediately at the same depth (no deeper) than it grew before and water it in so as to settle out any air pockets. Mulch with several inches of organic mulch and keep evenly moist (not soggy) for at least the coming year just as you would any newly planted azalea. When new growth begins, you can feed lightly with an acidified fertilizer (one especially formulated for Rhododendrons and Azaleas). Best wishes with the move!

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