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Old 03-15-2016, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,674 posts, read 11,630,514 times
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So last year I had this gardening thread: flower beds ... yes, FINALLY ... but questions questions questions!! . I basically completely changed my front-yard landscaping. It's too early to know if everything (or anything!) worked, but I am hopeful that I will have some flowers blooming in the next few months!!

One of the things I did was cut down several rhododendrons until they were very small (in anticipation of moving them). I moved one of them last summer, but by the fall it wasn't doing great and I suspect it did not survive this winter (I haven't checked yet). I have 2 rhododendrons left that I cut down -- they have a TON of new leaves. I definitely do NOT want to leave them where they are (foundation plantings), but I don't want to lose them either.

Does anyone have some really good, reliable info on how and when to transplant rhodies? Last year I followed instructions on some web site (of course I don't remember which one now) and I thought the transplant was going to be successful, but I don't think it was. The 2 rhodies left seem to really want to live, and I want that too! ANY advice would be appreciated (and I am generous with reps! ).
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,477 posts, read 21,511,476 times
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i can't say that i have really good information about transplanting rhododendron, but rule of thumb is to transplant at the end of the warm season or before they leaf out in the late winter or early spring. now, they're putting out top growth.

though it's a warm spring, it shouldn't be hot for a while. are you feeling lucky?
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
7,198 posts, read 9,487,142 times
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I always refer to this for my Rhode info, I got you to transplant already but I love this site.

https://www.rhododendron.org/transplant.htm
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,189 posts, read 3,382,767 times
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Hi Karen! Gearing up for the flower garden beat-down again - I've been staring out my windows watching my flower beds beg me to come out and weed them! I'm waiting for the perfect day - minimal wind, no rain or severe thunderstorm, no snow, and hopefully no need to dig out the hip waders to get to the barn!! Here are a couple of sites I found for you to look at:http://extension.unh.edu/resources/r...592_Rep614.pdf,
Rhododendron Care | Planting and Maintenance Tips -- Yankee Magazine
Rhododendrons and Azaleas: Planting and Growing Guide | The Old Farmer's Almanac

I'm sure there are oodles of others out there but they pretty much replicate each other. If I remember correctly - NK gave some pretty good info last year on one of her responses too. I don't have any of my own but they are beauties. I will be looking forward to your forward adventures with your plantings this spring/summer. Good luck!!!
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:25 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
20,843 posts, read 25,399,237 times
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I don't know what is best, but I bought 20 rhodies from a highly rated rhodies breeder last may. They were not trimmed and came with a rather shallow wide root ball.

I was told to just put them in the ground and keep them watered. Instead, I had to take them to a cold area, so I potted them in large pots, using a mix of peat and perlite. They like to be on the damp side and they are acid loving.

You have to be really careful that there are no air pockets around the roots when you transplant.

They got moved again to their permanent homes, planted in the ground, watered, dampness of the earth carefully monitered. This fall they were left on their own and they are looking good this spring

They are not supposed to be planted where you have a view of the ocean, but all of my neighbors have rhodies, so I went ahead and planted them. So far, so good.
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:38 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Oh wait. I forgot, the planting mix for the pots also contained shredded bark. Bark, perlite, peat mixture.

I'm not fond of peat, but it works for acid loving plants as long as you pay really close attention to moisture. I've got fertilizer for acid loving plants, but I gave them a 12-12-12 timed release with trace minerals. They grew so much I started to worry about fitting them back into my vehicle to get them back to the coast.

I don't know if this always works, but I got a 4 foot tall rhododendron for only $5 because the root ball had been cut wrong, way too small and lopsided. It was a beautiful variety and no big loss if it didn't make it, so I took the gamble. I did prune that one back and fussed over it. It didn't even blink, just went on and grew. Maybe they don't need a big root ball?
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:31 PM
 
25,631 posts, read 28,947,817 times
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After the chop job I'm surprised any survived.

Just go buy new ones.

Not being mean just factual and practical.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 6,868,395 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
After the chop job I'm surprised any survived.

Just go buy new ones.

Not being mean just factual and practical.
Rhodies are tough plants, and chopping them back rejuvenates them, much like it does other shrubs. I do it regularly to get rid of the deer and frost damage, or to get a straggly, ugly one back into better form. I once cut back a scraggly old purple one full of some kind of fungus down to the bottom, leaving only a single leaf bud ... it's about 4-5 feet high and bushy now the way you'd want it to look.

OP, I've had success transplanting rhodies in the early fall ... September. This was the recommended transplant time according to a local nurseryman I asked. Rhody roots are shallow but wide, so you have to dig well out from the main stem, although not too deep. I used a big digging bar on a brick to form a lever to help lift them out of the ground after I had excavated around the edges of the roots.

As others have said, rhodies like acidic soil, so mix them up a batch of local dirt from the hole along with some compost and spragham peat moss. Make the hole(s) larger than the root ball, put in some of the peat mixture, then the plant, then cover with more of the mixture. Water hard ... until water is standing on top of the ground. Then tamp it down to pack the dirt and get rid of any air pockets. Keep the rhodies well watered unless you get a rainy spell.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,674 posts, read 11,630,514 times
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Thanks, all, and I apologize for the delayed response!

I have looked at dozens of gardening sites since last year, when I started my flower beds (total newbie to gardening!!). I was confused by some conflicting info about rhododendrons. For example, some sites recommended transplanting at the end of the hot season (as Gerania suggested), while others, like the site nuts2uiam linked to, say that in cold climates (like where I am), early spring transplanting works best. The Yankee magazine site that CFoulke linked to says early spring or early fall. Hmmm!

I think I may try a bit of digging in the next few weeks, as the weather here is now mostly 40s/50s (although we still have several upcoming days when we're below freezing overnight). I'll see how hard the soil is. It would be good to get the 2 surviving rhodies planted in their new spots by the end of April ... hopefully they will then be well-established before the heat/humidity of July/August and of course before next winter (although this winter was insanely mild -- we didn't have even ONE major snowstorm in my area, which is unheard of).

Oh, Bulldogdad, master gardener No Kudzu recommended cutting my rhodies way down last year, and everything I've read since then says that is fine to do. It didn't hurt them at all -- here's a photo of one of them (all the green is new growth!):



Oregonwoodsmoke and Linda_d, thanks for the helpful info you posted -- much appreciated!

Reps to all -- I will try to remember to update this thread after I transplant -- I hope everything goes well! I'll also be updating my "flower beds" thread from last year -- am still dreaming of having lovely flowers in bloom SOON!!
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:16 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
20,843 posts, read 25,399,237 times
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If you are new to gardening, I will give you some important information. All gardening advice is climate specific. When you look for gardening advice, you must look at where the generous advisor lives.

An easy example if you ask when to prune roses, someone from Southern California will tell you to prune after the roses go dormant in the fall. That advice Is correct. I will tell you to wait until just before the buds swell in the spring. That is also correct.

In the spring, I prune off all wood that died from freeze damage and that damage is usually limited to the outer half of the branch. Roses in Southern California do not get freeze damage, so no need to wait until after they freeze.

If you get contradictory advice, that advice is coming from different climate zones and both are most likely correct for their zone.
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