Transplanting Mature Azaleas

Q: I have no choice but to transplant some mature azaleas this month. I would really like to cut them back. Can you advise? 

A: I remember moving six hydrangeas and ten azaleas on July 4 many years ago. It was hotter than blue blazes that day but they all survived! I think the key for you is to have soft organic soil ready to accept them in the new garden. After planting, really soak the soil around them and then put mulch around each plant. Don’t fertilize them until next spring but you can prune them back by a foot or so if that seems necessary. A more severe pruning will increase their need for water and will stress them unnecessarily.