Azalea Recovery Assistance

W3rk

Shohin
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I discovered late last year that I have a pair of old landscape Azaleas in my back yard which are not part of the normal landscaping. They are back inside the tree line in a wooded area. They are in a state of decline, primarily because they are on a trail frequented by deer and they have grazed them badly over the last few years. I think there may also be some issues with soil erosion and root exposure.

They have little foliage currently coming out of winter and are in rough shape. I want to dig them up and pot them to try to recover them - the stakes are low, I'm certain they will just die if left alone. Due to their condition I'm looking for any tips for digging them up (when best to do that? We are basically clear of freezing over night temps now) and recovery.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
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If your freeze and frost danger is past, then they are already trying to grow. Best time to dig was 2 weeks ago. If no new leaves have appeared it is okay to dig right now.

If new leaves are appearing on your azalea it is too late to dig. Next best time to dig is sometime after the summer solstice. (July 4th is a good ''landmark'' to note the date).
 

augustine

Chumono
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get a decent rootball, decent soil, tie them in so they don't move. Use organic Sulphur to acidify the soil, easy to find in garden centers or home depot. cut out dead branches. morning sun - afternoon shade, don't let them dry out, shelter from wind. leave them be.

They may live.
 

Shibui

Omono
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Leo's 'after solstice' may be a good rule but I have transplanted garden grown azaleas at all times of the year, usually with radical root reduction, and rarely had failure. Obviously conditions here are quite different to much of US so only offering alternative experiences.
 
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Best way to help a tree recover is to wrap the root ball with spagnum moss only and plant this way. This is a technique used by many Japanese nurseries.
 

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