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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 09, 2005

From: Ridgeland, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants
Title: Transplanting native azaleas in South Carolina
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

When is the best time to transplant azaleas in South Carolina Low Country?

ANSWER:

There are many wonderful native azaleas in South Carolina and they can usually be transplanted with success. The best time to transplant azaleas and nearly any other woody species is in the fall. To increase your chances of success and to give your transplanted azaleas the best start is to "pre-dig" them a few months to one year before you are ready to move them. Here's is how you do it. With a shovel or sharpshooter (a long-bladed spade) dig straight down all the way around the plant to be moved, forming a complete circle the desired size of the root ball. It is not necessary to remove soil at this point, you simply want to sever the roots at the edge of the root ball. In the ensuing months, the plant will develop new feeder roots within the root ball and thus will be much more likely to survive the move. It is a good idea to remove some of the top of the plant when transplanting. This will also reduce the stress of the move and help your azalea recover more quickly.

 

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