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Transplanting Trees And Shrubs

Transplanting a tree or shrub is very possible. There are certain simple tips for you to follow to ensure your plants have the best chance for survival. Even with these tips, Herbee always tells clients up front there is not a hundred percent guarantee of survival when you are taking a live plant specimen from one area to the next.

Multi-Colored Flowers On Hydrangea

The Root System

A good rule of thumb for most plants is not to transplant them after a few years in the ground. Many plants have deep root systems. The root system is made up of several different size roots. The large root is called the mother tap root and it is important not to damage this root.

The best time of year to move a plant is in the fall or early spring. Your goal is to allow the roots to get established in their new setting. There are a few simple steps that you can take to give your tree or shrub a good start.

Step-By-Step Transplanting Example

Below are a few pictures along with some easy tips on how to go about transplanting your tree or shrub. This Hydrangea has been planted for a little over two years. It's fall. The plant has never flowered with those beautiful summer blooms (like the photo above-right).

Herbee wants to change the location as Hydrangea can be finicky about the acidity in the soil. His goal is to move this shrub into a more sunny location with a little bit different acid composition in the ground.

The first photo shows you a Hydrangea plant in its original hole. Next, you see the fall leaves and mulch removed, and the hole has been outlined with a shovel. Continue to loosen the dirt all the way around the shrub with you shovel.

Hydrangea Original Location

Hydrangea In Original Hole

Starting To Dig

Base Of The Plant Outlined

Main Roots Dug Up

Photo Of Main Roots

Continue digging around until you can feel the underneath of the plant. Sometimes, at this point, it's best to get on your hands and knees to find the main or mother root. A good tip is to dig around and gently lift the entire ball of the shrub.

You can see the mother root in the 3rd photo. Notice how it is not large on the Hydrangea. This is an indication that the roots haven't correctly grown and spread below the original ball of the shrub. You can also see how the ball of the shrub is still intact, so the roots are healthy. This shrub originally came out of a three gallon container.

New Hole Ready New Hole With Mushroom Compost In Bottom Hydrangea In New Hole Close Up Dirt Level

Get your new hole ready for the shrub. When transplanting a plant, do the old hole and the new one together. Go ahead now and dig your new hole. Since you've already dug around the existing plant, you have an idea as to the width and depth you'll need.

Herbee recommends using organic mushroom compost. This is a great organic fertilizer that will last up to a year. It usually comes in forty pound bags. As you can see, the base of the hole is covered. Mix it well with your soil. Herbee's warning tip: mushroom compost doesn't have a very good aroma to humans, but your plants will love it!

Here a couple of important tips for you when filling the hole. Set your shrub into the new hole. Your goal is to have the top of the root ball at ground level, or one to two inches above the ground at the most.

Never put any plant below the ground surface. If you do, the hole will be acting like a bowl, and this came damage your shrub as well as potentially kill it. Add your dirt evenly around the outside edges of the shrub. By doing this you will eliminate any possible air pockets from getting trapped in the hole.

The third picture is of the Hydrangea in its new hole. Notice how the dirt is mounded a little, but not up against the base of the shrub. The final step we will do is put mulch, maybe pine straw, around the shrub. This is especially good for the colder months.

Hydrangeas die back in cooler climates and fall is definitely the best time to transplant this particular shrub.

Doing any type of shrub or tree requires these simple steps. The above are really easy steps in transplanting most trees and shrubs. Take the time to do a little research on the depth of the root system with the plant you may be thinking of moving to another location. Some trees and shrubs can be in the ground for only a year or two and have already developed a massive and deep root system. This makes it almost impossible to successfully transplant.

Remember the importance of the P-P-P method. Feel free to contact Herbee if you have any questions regarding moving a specific plant specimen to a new location.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Hydrangea --- Besides Transplanting, Learn How To Properly Prune

P-P-P Method

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