Moving plants

While there might be a real chill in the air at this time of year, soil is still retaining a good deal of warmth. With this in mind now is a good time to transplant dormant trees and shrubs, which have been planted in an unsuitable place or which have outgrown their position.
   Before transplanting a tree or a shrub it is normally a good idea to trim the plant back. This pruning is done in an attempt to retain the balance of the plant above and below the ground. If this is not done and the root system is reduced during the transplanting process the plant will naturally shed any excess foliage.
   When digging up a plant for transplanting it is important to keep as much soil as possible on the root-ball. The reason for doing this is to protect the roots from damage and to keep them from drying out.
   When preparing the ground for replanting it is important to dig a hole larger than the root-ball. Fork a generous amount of compost into the bottom of the hole and set the plant in at the same depth as previously grown. There will be a mark on the stem. Dig compost or well rotted manure through the planting soil and firm in well around the roots.
   The secret to successfully transplanting trees or shrubs is in the watering. After transplanting it is extremely important to thoroughly soak the root-ball and to continue watering regularly through the first growing season.
   If a plant is being moved to a windy site it is important that it is properly staked. It may even be necessary to erect a temporary wind-break around the plant as the most common reason for transplanting failure is the loss of moisture through the leaves or by root damage being caused by the plant being blown about in late winter storms.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.