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Replanting Azaleas

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  • George Klump
    30 January 2012 Dear Vicki [and Tweety Bird], Replanting azaleas is fine, if one is careful in doing it. However, if the azaleas presently are used to about
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 30, 2012
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      30 January 2012

      Dear Vicki [and Tweety Bird],

      Replanting azaleas is fine, if one is careful in doing it.  However, if the azaleas presently are used to about 80% sunlight, I would not recommend moving them into 20% sunlight just for the sake of moving them.  Nearly all flowers must have sunlight in order to bloom properly.  I say "nearly all flowers", since clivia can get by on maybe just 10% to 15% sunlight and do well that way.  But they are an exception to the general rule.  If they were my azaleas, I would not fool with them unless you are expecting a bulldozer to come through there any time in the next 24 hours.  If no bulldozer is expected any time soon, then, I would leave them right where they are, else you will lose any chance of the azaleas setting flowers for next year or any time in the future.  They must have sunlight.  If they must be moved, try to find a place where a similar amount of sunlight will be available to them, even if it is filtered by some trees during part of the day. 

      By the way, why do you want to move them?

      George E. Klump
      Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA








      Replanting azaleas: I am planning on replanting several
        established older azaleas. Is it ok to plant them in a relatively
       shady spot in my sparsely /wooded back yard? I have read about
        moving and replanting on the web, but did not see anything about
        the amount of sunlight needed. Currently the azaleas are in a spot
        that gets about of 80% sunlight. In The new spot they will only get
        about 20 % sunlight. My e mail is vickitweetybird@...
    • George Klump
      1 February 2012 Thanks for the explanation, Vicki. I have a better idea of what you are trying to do now. If this oak tree was cut down last year, I wouldn t
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1, 2012
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        1 February 2012

        Thanks for the explanation, Vicki.  I have a better idea of what you are trying to do now.

        If this oak tree was cut down last year, I wouldn't worry about the sawdust.  That might even be good for your soil, since it will decompose slowly and will tend to prevent phytophthora from invading.  [That's root rot, a very dangerous animal to have get started in your soil.]

        Here is my suggestion.  There are others ways of doing this, too, but I have found this to be the least disruptive to the azalea.  If the oak tree area presents a good space, use it.  I would first measure the diameter of the azalea, i.e. straight across the drip line.  If that turns out to be 16 inches, fine.  Then, begin digging around that azalea perhaps 20 inches away from the actual stem.  [Azalea roots move out horizontally and you do not want to disrupt them any more than necessary.]  Dig around probably 75% to 80% of the circumference and down probably 8 inches at least.  If it takes two shovels to pry it loose, so be it.  Measure all of them and, then, do the same thing to each of them accordingly.

        Before moving the azaleas [any of them] now that you have their respective diameters, go to the oak tree area and dig the holes for them there first.  If one of the azaleas [or any of them] have a diameter of 16 inches, then, dig your hole for it in the oak tree area about 20 inches in diameter.  This will give the roots space to expand further and they will need it. 

        Now comes the important part.  Get you some coarse sphagnum peat moss, some perlite and some good shredded bark and mix them physically together 1 - 1 - 2 by volume.  Just "eyeball" it.  It doesn't have to be exact.  Then, fill the holes you've dug probably 2/3's of the way with the mixture.  Take your hose and soak each one till the mixture becomes a "soup".  Let it drain.  Then, take the appropriate azalea you are going to put into an particular hole you've dug for it and blow as much of the dirt off the root ball, maybe 70% of it, as you can.  Set that azalea down in the hole you've dug right in the middle of it spreading the roots and, then, fill the hole the rest of the way with the mixture up only to the point where it was originally.  NO FURTHER.  Stabilize it by packing the mixture down reasonably and, then, take your hose once more and soak the whole thing again.  Walk away.

        Another important consideration is this.  If the azaleas presently are a bit crowded -- and you've indicated that they are -- then, I would suggest you measure the centers of the holes you are about to dig so that they are about 4 1/2 to 5 feet apart.  This way you will prevent future crowding of the roots of the different azaleas and this will allow plenty of room for the plants to expand without bumping into each other.  If the azaleas are bigger than this, then, just spread the centers further apart.  My maternal grandmother used to fuss about this, since my uncle was a landscaper.  He'd plant azaleas for her and fix up the garden beautifully.  She'd come out, take one look and begin fussing about the space between the plants and want to move them closer.  My uncle would have to explain again that they will grow and in time will fill in very nicely, so don't crowd them!  She never had much patience about that. 

        The mixture I suggested?  We have found over the last 35 years that this stabilizes the acidity of the soil around the azaleas.  They must have an acid medium in which to grow properly, else the hydrogen ion will not be able to move freely so that normal nutrients can be turned into a water soluble form the little feeder roots can absorb.  The perlite [as well as the coarse peat] makes for air space down around the roots so that oxygen can penetrate down into the root zone.  Oxygen is necessary for friendly bacteria.  The shredded bark helps to maintain the acidity, too, but also seems to have the capacity for feeding on any phytophthora which may come around.  The microorganism which breaks the wood down into cellulose seems to be a predator of the phytophthora organism. . . .which is always good, especially around where oak trees have been.

        I don't have any idea of your climate where you live, but I would suggest feeding your azaleas [and any of your plants for that matter] just with cottonseed meal.  It is a good organic material, releases very slowly into the soil so that it does not burn the plant.  Water the soil around the azaleas first, then, spread a cupful around the drip line of each azalea and water that in gently.  Our schedule is Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day.  NO MORE.  As I say, I have no idea of your climate, so if Easter is a bit early, i.e. you could still have a good freeze after that time, then, just wait till the usual freeze time is past and, then, feed the azaleas.  If it freezes too close to Labor Day, say, in mid-October, then, back that feeding time up a couple of weeks.  I use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day for all of my plants -- meaning any kind -- because it's an easy schedule to remember.  They love the cottonseed meal, it's inexpensive and it doesn't burn the plants, if it's used in moderation as suggested here.  Remember, the azaleas should have an equivalent amount of sunlight in the place to which you move them.  20% sunlight will not do the job for you, i.e. the azaleas will not produce flowers of any significance. 

        Oh, one last consideration for you.  Azaleas are a subfamily of the rhododendrons and must have rapid drainage.  They will take about all the water they can get SO LONG AS it drains away from the root zone about as fast as it comes in.  This is very important.  If your soil is an adobe or clay type, then, what I have suggested above for you is critical.  You do not need to put any native soil into the mixture I've described.  If the native soil is something on the order of decomposed granite, then, you could add perhaps 15% to 20% of it to backfill the hole and mix in thoroughly with the suggested mixture.  That would help with hydration in hot weather.  If the native soil is not of that kind, leave it out altogether.  If you have cold winds during the winter, make sure your azaleas are well watered before the winds begin.  High cold winds will desiccate the plants in a hurry.  Keep in mind that a desiccated plant is a desecrated plant and it will usually die, if that happens.  So watch for that, if you live in a cold winter area.   

        George E. Klump
        Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       













        On 2/1/2012 3:41 AM, james powell wrote:
        I would like to move them because the area they are in now is too crowded and really too small of an area.  I placed them there several years ago (7) when they were given to me in memory after the death of a parent. I quickly placed them in an area where the soil was good.   My intention was to create a memory garden spot and to move them  the next fall.  Well---I work and seven years have slipped by.  The azleas look pretty nice, but are getting bigger and are sort of crowded and hidden amonst some other plants.  I was trying to think of an area to move them, and my sparsely, shady, backyard seemed like the best choice.  Another choice is a sunny spot where a very old damaged oak was cut down this year, but if I plant them there, I think I need to wait a year or so until the sawdust/soil in the area where the oak was cut neutralizes?????    Any additional insight would be appreciated.  Thanks         Vicki-----------I have even considered hiring getting a professional landscaping company to move the plants and help me prepare a spot as removing the plants and preparing new spots can require a good deal of work. 

        --- On Tue, 1/31/12, George Klump <mixturev@...> wrote:

        From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
        Subject: Replanting Azaleas
        To: vickitweetybird@..., azaleas@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 3:41 AM

        30 January 2012

        Dear Vicki [and Tweety Bird],

        Replanting azaleas is fine, if one is careful in doing it.  However, if the azaleas presently are used to about 80% sunlight, I would not recommend moving them into 20% sunlight just for the sake of moving them.  Nearly all flowers must have sunlight in order to bloom properly.  I say "nearly all flowers", since clivia can get by on maybe just 10% to 15% sunlight and do well that way.  But they are an exception to the general rule.  If they were my azaleas, I would not fool with them unless you are expecting a bulldozer to come through there any time in the next 24 hours.  If no bulldozer is expected any time soon, then, I would leave them right where they are, else you will lose any chance of the azaleas setting flowers for next year or any time in the future.  They must have sunlight.  If they must be moved, try to find a place where a similar amount of sunlight will be available to them, even if it is filtered by some trees during part of the day. 

        By the way, why do you want to move them?

        George E. Klump
        Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA








        Replanting azaleas: I am planning on replanting several
          established older azaleas. Is it ok to plant them in a relatively
         shady spot in my sparsely /wooded back yard? I have read about
          moving and replanting on the web, but did not see anything about
          the amount of sunlight needed. Currently the azaleas are in a spot
          that gets about of 80% sunlight. In The new spot they will only get
          about 20 % sunlight. My e mail is vickitweetybird@...

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