In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows how to successfully move a large rhododendron shrub to a new location.
How to transplant a rhododendron
- Excavate a 12-inch-deep hole at the new planting site.
- Dig a 5-foot-diameter circle around the rhododendron. Dig down past the roots, at least 6 inches deep.
- Use a transplanting shovel to slice through any roots around and beneath the root ball.
- Truss up the branches with rope to protect them during transport to the new planting site.
- Use a small excavator equipped with forks to lift the rhododendron from its original location, and carry it to the new planting hole.
- Spread a thick layer of compost into the hole and turn it into the soil with a pointed shovel.
- Set the rhododendron into the hole, rotating it until its best side faces out toward the house. Cut the rope from the branches.
- Sprinkle some starter fertilizer and super phosphate over a mound of compost.
- Mix the amended compost into the soil and shovel it around the plant. Rake the soil smooth.
- Water the plant continuously throughout the summer.
If you have a lot of eath to move, you can rent a small excavator.