Washington: Can i transplant a mature rhododendron?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by ersh99, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. ersh99

    ersh99 Active Member

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    seattle, wa, usa
    I just moved to a new home and there is a mature rhododendron (approx. 4' wide) planted very unfortunately about 2' behind a mature full moon maple tree. I would like to transplant the rhododendron but am worried I may damage the roots to both plants. Any advice? thank you in advance!
  2. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Kootenays, BC, Canada
    I would rather plant another one in a desired location. While waiting for it to get big enough I would prune the old one to more suitable shape and size. When the new one is big enough then I would decide if to get rid of the old one . . . or maybe keep it anyhow : )
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    South Okanagan & Greater Vancouver, BC Canada
    ... do you know when these 2 plants were put in the ground at your house? We could possibly assume that they were small nursery plants at the time (ie what you'd buy at your garden center)

    do you know what type of rhodo it is? (is there a label? can you contact the former owner of house? have you seen it bloom? leaf shape? etc) ---- if it is mature (at least 10 yrs) and is 4 x 4 feet approx - then that might be its full size.

    I agree with Sundrop - plant a new one in a really nice spot (shade, woodland, view across your lawn from your spring sunshine patio, etc) (oh, and pay good attention to the final size and blooming period that should be listed on the label - etc) - then slowly deal with the seemingly mis-placed shrub.

    remember the one-third "rule" about rhodo pruning and reshaping. My experience is that the best rhodo "look" is the leggy natural - not the pruned shaped sheared (NEVER let your maintenance type gardener shear it - I have experienced that with some of my shrubs - needless to say - ouch)

    they do need water - so if you are gardening in full-sun, dry, then maybe you need to go for some other woodland plants that can adapt to dry forest conditions (ocean spray shrub, oregon grape (aka mahonia) - salal - sword fern - etc)

    not knowing which side of the SEA metro area you are located (dry or near the foothills where it might be colder and damper in the winter - it's hard to say exactly.

    ps - I'd look around the neighborhood you are new to - and see what other houses have in the way of successful plantings - if it's a recent suburb, then maybe not as the shrubs might just be mass-planted - tho I'm sure there's someone neighborly who has garden interest in your local area. I also like to look at the local gov't buildings like the library and town hall and so forth - as they seem to be moving ahead with low maintenance (water, fertilizer run-off, pest/herbicides, etc).

    I like referring to www.sunset.com too = specifically the garden info area on their website (and in their magazine. Make sure you're reading the Pac NW edition - assuming they still separate out the west in each issue.
  4. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    gulf island, bc, canada
    Healthy rhodos are quite tolerant of being cut back hard--to stubs if need be--they typically make a full recovery in relatively short order, and have a fairly shallow root system. I've moved much larger ones than yours with no ill effect....just don't do it now, wait until the Fall when it's reliably cool and wet.

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