Re: Can I move Rhododendrons in the Summer???

wrote:

Summer is not a good time for this.
If you move them, you will have to water them frequently for the rest of the summer. Unless you live somewhere that rains frequently all summer.
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How about taking a rhody out of a rotting tub and putting it into the ground? Should we wait? Jackie, zone 7

move.
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If your rhody is already in a pot/tub (out of the ground), then there is no problem to put it in the ground during the summer. Just make sure you keep it watered by slowly running a hose. Don't forget to make sure you make the appropriate hole with decent soil. See: http://www.westonnurseries.com/New_Site_Pages/Planting_Guidelines.htm
-al sung Rapid Realm Technology, Inc. Hopkinton, MA (Zone 6a)
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This should be no problem if you are careful and can keep the root ball intact. Being in a tub, the plant should have a compact root ball. The trick is to remove the tub without disturbing the roots. Make sure you have enough hands if it is a large tub.
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The problems are: 1) with large rhododendrons it is very difficult to move without greatly disturbing the root system. 2) summer is a time when the plant needs much water. 3) it is difficult for a damaged root system to secure enough water for the plant.
If you absolutely had to move the plant, you could cut the top way back to reduce the demands on the roots. Then very carefully try to save all of the root structure. Rhododendrons don't have a very deep root system, but you need to secure all of the roots out to an area near the drip line.
The best way would be to root prune the plants now by running a spade into the soil in a circle around the plant to cut back the ends of the roots. This will cause the plants to form nice compact root balls that are easy to transplant.
Then early next spring, after the ground thaws out (if it freezes in your area) carefully dig out the plant and move it without disturbing the roots any more than necessary.
In any case it will need good drainage but adequate water for a while after transplanting. The trick is not too much water when the weather is warm because this can cause root rot which is fatal.
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Steve's cautions are to be heeded, but I think it also depends on where you live and where you will relocate the plant.
Up here in the Pacific Northwest (a rather Americo-centric term, as for those of us in Canada, it is really our Pacific Southwest), we can transplant right into the summer as long as we don't stick the poor plant in the full sun, where as Steve points out, you may either give it too little water, in which case it will die, or too much water, in which case it will get root rot - and then die.
It is easier to get a balance when the plant has some shade than if it were trying to make do in full sun.
The sort of rootball it has also makes a difference. A pot bound plant will need the outside roots teased out or it can just sit in a tight ball for years before dying.
One guy I bought large plants from when he moved had an interesting method of planting. He laid down plastic sheet to keep down weeds, and then placed the rhodos on top in a few inches of bark mulch. They thrived, and ended up with flat root 'balls' often the size of bath mats, and could be moved so easily that they probably didn't even know they'd been transplanted.
Just don't make the mistake that many people do and plant the poor things too deeply. Often almost placing them on the surface and mounding bark mulch around them is adequate, though most people dig a shallow planting hole. Digging deep can result in lack of drainage and another dead plant.
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(Bill Spohn) wrote:

sun, where

then die.

I wonder if the chap I got my Western Azalea from did that. The bark-compacted roots were flat as a pancake, & at the time I just assumed that must be normal for Western Azaleas.
-paghat the ratgirl
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I just got a couple of rhodies this spring. They're in half wine barrels with a special rhododendron potting mixture. I'm in the SF Bay Area, and they're on the north side of my house, so they only get direct sun in the late afternoon. Should I continue watering them every day in hot weather, or ease up a bit to reduce the risk of root rot? Since they aren't established in their new homes yet, I don't want to underwater them.
Patty
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On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 01:13:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wintertime.com (Patty Winter) wrote:

If you skip a day will the leaves wilt? If not, try skipping two days.
Is the soil underneath damp the day after you watered? If it is still damp, don't bother to water.
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snipped-for-privacy@wintertime.com (Patty Winter) wrote:

Cut back on the water. Water thoroughly when you do water, but wait until they show signs of stress before watering again. That is usually some leaves wilting in the heat of the day. Don't water every day. Soon you will found out how often you need to water. It may be every 3 or 4 days or once a week or even longer. It will be more often in hot weather and much less in cool weather. Make sure there are drain holes in the bottom. Otherwise they will drown.
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