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How to move azalea plants

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you have inherited a less than ideal garden in a recent move, are desiring a new colour pattern in your garden, or are simply changing things up a bit, moving azaleas is a task that needs to be low-stress for the plants. Attaining this goal is simple, provided that you have the right tools and a basic knowledge of how to move azalea plants. With some simple steps, you will be on your way to beautiful, colourful blooms in your desired location.

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  1. Minimise the stress put on azaleas during the move. According to Azaleas.org, stressing an azalea is caused by leaving some of its roots behind. In order to avoid this and ensure a successful transplant, Azaleas.org recommends moving azalea plants when the soil is cool. Move them in early fall or early spring during cool weather or in winter. If you must move azalea plants in warm weather, which is not ideal, move them on a day when it has just rained, a cloudy day or earlier or later in the day.

  2. Determine the age of your azalea plants. According to SouthernLiving.com, younger plants that are one to five years old will be much easier to dig than older plants which have had more time to establish their roots. Plan for how challenging your dig will be based on the age of your plants.

  3. Dig wide instead of deep. Digging the biggest root ball you can is important to preserve as many roots as possible. Since azalea roots tend to grow out and are shallow, pay more attention to digging around them instead of digging beneath them. SouthernLiving.com suggests creating a root ball that is half the diameter of your azalea plant. If your plant measures 30 inches across, cut a root ball that measures 15 inches across.

  4. Dig down at least 12 inches for larger azaleas. Though digging wide is most important, Azaleas.org recommends a depth of 12 inches in a conical shape with the point facing down. Remove soil bit by bit until you can identify where your roots are. Once you have a clean cut, remove the plant from the ground. To ensure less stress to the roots and the surrounding soil, place the plant in the centre of a square of burlap. Tie the corners of the burlap tight around the plant so that the roots and soil are covered. When moving the azalea plant to another location, lift it by the burlap ties instead of by the stems.

  5. Plant your azaleas as soon as possible. Azalea plants will dry out quickly. According to SouthernLiving.com, it is important to water your azalea plants well after replanting. Keep them well mulched with pine needles, bark or leaves. SouthernLiving.com explains that azaleas are acid-loving plants and these options "work well as a mulch because they acidify the soil as they break down."

  6. Warning

    Do not move azaleas in the winter if the soil is frozen or soggy.

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Things You'll Need

  • Azaleas
  • Burlap
  • Sharp shovel or spade

About the Author

Tarah Damask's writing career began in 2003 and includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum and articles for various websites. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.

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