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Eddie, Home Improvement Contractor
Category: Landscaping
Satisfied Customers: 776
Experience:  owner of Island Pro-Craft
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I bought rhododendrons 2 years ago and left them in pots. I

Customer Question

I bought rhododendrons 2 years ago and left them in pots. I watered them regularly. Now I am ready to plant them but the root is completely matted; its' very thick. The plants are very beautiful and healthy. How do I transplant them from pots to the ground. I am in zone 7, Pacific Northwest.
Also do I use a fertilizer or a special soil? One spot where I want to plant them is sandy, with pebbles and yellowish/grey soil.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landscaping
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The plants are about 3 feet high and 4 feet wide.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The branches at the bottom are very thick, about 1" to1-1/4".The foliage is very full.
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.

Hi your rhodies pretty much out grew their pots so it is good that you are going to transplant them now ......but it would have been good if you prepared the soil last season............ I do have concerns over what you say is sandy is good that these plants have the proper drainage but the roots have to be kept moist in a PH balanced loamy first you can locate a good area......they don't like a full morning sun and thrive with a little bit of shade ............then get a soil test kit at the Home Depot and test the PH which should be between 4.5 and 5.5 ...........if it does test and you want to try and plant one bush and see how it will will soak the root ball sufficiently and then plant it up to the same level as it was in the pot............then you'll want to place a wood mulch around and lightly water it again..........I would say to use this as a test in the soil and see how it is doing after a month and then transplant the others before the end of spring.........hope that helps



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Eddie,
Could you explain to me what to do with the matted root system. The whole root when I take it out of the plastic container is just matted matter, nothing else. It is hard. I cant see any dirt, just matted matter. Do I cut through it? Do I planted just like that?
I read somewhere that when the root is too insulated like this one, at rainy season it will rot from the inside
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.

I would think once you soak it well you can "fluff" it up with your hands or gently with a pointy hand shovel before putting it in a hole that is wide enough and the roots are flexible enough...............I think with all of the intangibles that we are facing it might be best you use this as a test condition and see how it all goes......Rhodies are acid loving plants so if you will use the proper organic feed

Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.

you'll be surprised how strong roots can be .......maybe use an organic mulch instead of a wood one........I love Rhodies is an easy care plant .............I hope I have helped some and if you will consider a good rating for any help I did provide ...........good luck

Thanks again


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can't fluff with my hand and get to some flexible roots. The whole root ball is a ball of matted matter. It is so thick. I did cut about two inches in and it is as thick inside as it is outside. I can see lots of hair going through the matted area, but there is no way to separate the matted are from the hair. I wonder if I can cut much deeper into the matted area to access the roots? will this damage the plant's root system/hair?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think that when I bought my plants they have already been for quite some time in a pot, so now the whole plant root inside/outside is matted.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would you advise to leave the whole root system matted as it is, and just cut though here and then throughout the whole matted root system to allow the root to come out of it when in the ground? Are the hair of the rhodies fragile and not to be disturbed? This is what I am trying to understand so I can make a decision. Thanks for any feedback you may have on this issue.,
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.

from the way you described the plant to me that it is flourishing it doesn't sound like it is root-bound in any way.......but now is the time to do any pruning want to get rid of any hard wood and try and taper it toward the bottom of the root survives on a shallow root..........just don't get overly zealous with the pruner.......trim any hard wood at the top too and you can cut back on some of the flowers so it will have an increased bloom during the summer..............Then I would use a liquid fertilizer and then once a week between April and August..........hope this helps


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I appreciate your effort to answer my question, but I don't think you understand what my question is. My plant seem to be flourishing now from the outside, but the root system is so matted and unpenetrable that eventually it will not be able to get any nutrient form the soil and die as it is so stuck inside the matted area.
Expert:  Eddie replied 1 year ago.

I hear what you are saying is kind of hit or miss at this point that is why we discussed trimming it back some to a taper at the bottom and get a new root system going .................we also discussed about testing the soil because you want to put it in a sandy instead of loamy soil..........there are so many variables that I suggested to do one for now and see how it takes off ...........rhodies are hard to kill so that is a plus ........I can see how you might not accept what I can only provide as tenuous answer........and its's okay because I wish I could have stated something without conviction........... it is kind of hard i don't expect a rating ............and good luck with them