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Transplanting Shrubs

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January 19, 2020

Sometimes the home gardener needs to move an existing shrub or small tree. The winter months are a perfect time to do this. Let me demonstrate how easy it is to move a shrub to a new spot in the landscape. We need to expand some research beds here at Coastal Research and Extension Center. Today we’re going to start moving these repeat blooming Watchet azaleas we’ve been evaluating to new locations in our landscape. These have been in the ground for about five years and will be easy to dig. Older plants will take more effort. I like to use a round point shovel. If your shovel is dull, use a tool to restore a sharp cutting edge. A sharp shovel will easily cut through roots. With the shovel cut a circle around the azalea, about the depth of the shovel. The root-ball should be about half the diameter of the azalea. After digging up your azaleas, they need to be replanted rather quickly so the roots don’t dry out. Don’t dig the new hole too deep, I’m going to keep the root ball about 2-inches higher than the surrounding soil grade. Water thoroughly after planting and mulch the plants heavily to help hold moisture. Azaleas are acid-loving plants, so pine needles work well as a mulch because they acidify the soil as they break down. You can use the same tip for moving existing small trees in the landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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