Need Transpanting Help

yewmongerJuly 5, 2014

First, I'm not much of a gardener - please make any responses simple! I'm in SE Michigan. I've got this old rhody growing out behind my garage, and I've been trying to propagate it for some time. About 2 years ago, there was a branch that had grown close to the ground, so I scraped a bit of bark off, put some rooting hormone on it, and buried it, per instructions I found on the web.

It seems to have taken, this spring I cut the branch to the mother plant and the little ones seem to be doing OK. I took the pictures(sorry for the poor quality) last summer, and a couple of them have grown to about 8 inches tall this year.

I'd like to transplant these, but want to make sure I go about it correctly. I can identify 4 separate stems coming out of the ground, but I'm assuming they are all still connected to 1 root system? This is one of the things I'm unsure of, and I'm not comfortable enough with working with these things to just dig them up and look.

Can I just dig the whole group up, cut into 4 pieces and replant? I wouldn't mind transplanting the whole group together, if necessary, but I'd prefer to split them.

Thank you for any help!

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There's really no way to tell exactly what you have until you dig it up. Since, however,you wounded and treated just one spot on the low hanging branch, your assumption that you have four stems emerging from a single mass of roots is almost certainly correct.

You also will have no idea how extensive the new root system is until you're able to examin it. Remember that this new growth is still being supported by the large root mass of the mother plant. Because of this, I'd suggest you pot up the new growth and let it adapt to life on its own for an additional year before planting it in the landscape. Keep it watered and shaded. If you see severe wilting of the leaves, mist frequently or provide a a tent of poly plastic to keep the humidity up around the plant.

As far as dividing it, I can't say it's impossible, but only a few varieties of mostly decidious azaleas lend themselves to this method of multiplication. If you find different stems emerging from clearly distinct areas of the root mass, it may work, but it is not at all likely that you will find this condition when you dig it up.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:47AM
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Thanks! I hadn't thought about potting, that sounds like a great idea, I'm going to go ahead and do that. Based on what you say, I think I'll just forget about dividing, not really a big deal to me either way, and I'd rather not take a risk. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Shortly after my last posting, I 'potted' the whole mess in a large rectangular tub with some drainage holes.

A couple of the little ones on one end were so loosely connected to the root system that I think I could have separated them, but I chose not to take any chances.

Anyhow, this morning, for the first time, I can say there is DEFINITELY some new growth(big smile!)

Now, should I leave these outside for the winter, or put them inside? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:07AM
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If you dig a hole for the tub and place it in the ground so the roots are protected from excessive cold and protect the top with evergreen boughs, burlap screen, etc., it can probably stay outside, but the new growth just appearing will have very little time to harden off if you are in a cold climate zone. If you have a suitable place - moderate temperature, not overly warm and not so cold that the roots will be subject to temperatures much below freezing - inside would be fine.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:19AM
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