Azalea bushes can be successfully transplanted even when they are large or overgrown. Make sure to follow the proper guidelines for azalea removal, root care, and proper transplanting technique.
Transplant your azalea during the fall or early spring season, but no later than late April. Cool temperatures allow the root system to get established. Hot summer temperatures with less rainfall may put too much stress on the plant. Work on an overcast day or early in the morning or evening when temperatures are lower.
Dig a circle 12 to 18 inches wider than the azalea's trunk. Carefully remove soil from the root system and loosen soil within it. Position a burlap square underneath the roots and gently lift the bush out of the ground. This technique enables you to lift from the bottom rather than pulling on the trunk. After removal, cradle the root ball together in your hands or keep the burlap around it. Avoid letting the roots hang loose or dangle as you move from one location to the next. You risk damaging the roots in transport or breaking off sections of them.
If you are transplanting the azalea to a location outside of your own yard, wrap the root ball in moistened burlap to prevent it from drying out.
Plant the azalea as soon as possible. Dig a hole wider than the root ball and gently insert the trunk inside. Carefully fill the hole without pressing down on the soil with hands or feet. Compacted soil will prevent the azalea roots from getting air and water.
After filling the hole with soil, water the area slowly so that soil settles and you can determine where there are air pockets. Then water the plant once a week for several weeks. Apply a layer of mulch on top to retain moisture and regulate temperature.