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Can I move Pride of Mobile Azalea bush

Posted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:40 am
by bamakodaker
Hello,

I've gotten tired of trimming all the shrubs and just realized I could move some bushes around.
When I got this house there was a thorny Holly bush by itself. I added Euonymus japonicus on each side of it. I later added the azalea bush that is much bigger than I thought it would be. I'd like to get rid of the first three bushes and move the azalea bush over to replace them.
So my question - can I move the azalea bush? If I can move it, are there any suggestions? (Should it be trimmed before the move or such)
Yes, I am aware of what I'm considering doing. Right after I got the house I moved one holly bush. I need the pickup to fiiiiiinally get it out of the crater I'd dug! lol

Thanks for your time!
bamakodaker

Posted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:26 am
by Kisal
The people at Greer Gardens, who specialize in rhododendrons and azaleas, have told me that these plants can be moved at any time of the year, as long as the ground isn't frozen. It's their shallow root systems that make that possible. The root ball is not very large. I moved a 7 ft tall azalea a few years ago -- in July in fact -- and it's doing very well.

The trick is to give that shallow root system water 3 or 4 times a day after it's replanted. Just a good sprinkle with the garden hose seemed to be all my azalea needed, no deep watering or anything like that. The water table in my yard is quite high, even in the summer, so if your soil gets dry deeper down, your plant may need a deep watering once a week with a light sprinkling several times a day in between. The roots need to be kept moist, not soggy wet, but you can't let them dry out, either.

The other thing is to dig up as much of the root ball as you can. The plant I moved had a root ball about 3 1/2 or 4 ft in diameter and about 2 ft deep. I couldn't move it myself, but the guys I had working for me were able to. I had them put it on a tarp, so it could be gently dragged to the new planting hole, which we had already prepared. As long as you're careful when moving the plant, so you don't damage the roots, everything should go fine.

I don't remember pruning the plant back, but it wouldn't do any great harm, as long as it's finished blooming. The time to prune these plants is right after they have finished flowering. If you wait much longer, you won't have any flowers the next year, because this is the time they set buds.

The guy at Greer Gardens showed me a 12 ft tall rhodie they had just brought back from a show. It was beautiful. He said they routinely dig them up, take them to shows, bring them back and replant them.

HTH! :)

Posted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:20 am
by WildcatNurseryman
Kisel is exacty right. I am amazed by how little Azalea/Rhodos root out in general. I have dug up plants that have been in the ground for years and you can barely tell that they are out of the pot.