Out-of-control Azaleas

It’s azalea-pruning time of year again. I’ve got a multi-year project going to tame the two huge azaleas outside our living room window. They were neglected for a long time and have gotten very leggy, woody and overgrown. One of them is actually two azalea bushes that have grown together. The big ones are way too big for their britches — that is, aesthetically, they don’t work well right alongside the house. I’d love to transplant them somewhere they can bush out to their hearts’ content. Then, I’ll get some more little dwarf azaleas to plant next to the house. The U.S. National Arboretum has a very informative Azalea FAQ page. An excerpt:

Azaleas have very shallow root systems, so even large azaleas may be successfully transplanted. It is important to dig a wide root ball. Don’t worry about digging deep into the soil since most azalea roots are near the surface. The best time to do this is early spring or early fall when the weather is cool. Begin by preparing the new planting site. Then dig the azalea, preserving a root ball as wide as can be safely moved. You can lift it onto a tarp and then use the tarp to drag the plant to its new location rather than picking it up. Be sure not to plant the azalea too deeply and water it thoroughly after transplanting.

So it seems like it should be doable. Maybe I can put it on the plate for this Fall.

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