Relocating Plants

Sometimes it is necessary to move established plants around the garden. This may have to be done because a plant has out grown its original position, because you are thinking of re-designing a section of the garden, or because you just think that a particular plant would look better somewhere else. Now that the weather is finally starting to dry up, this is a great time of year to tackle any trees and shrubs that need to be moved.
   When transplanting a tree or shrub it is a good idea to plan ahead. If you have plenty of warning you should start preparing the plant for the move about six months before you actually intend to move it. If time is on your side it is advisable to cut a circle right around your plant during the spring before you want to move it, by doing this you will cut some of the plants outer roots and encourage new ones to form closer to the stem. As a general rule you should cut a circle of about two foot in diameter around a plant that is less than four foot high, and a circle four foot in diameter around any bigger plants. By the time you get around to moving the plant, it should have produced a healthy root-ball that will establish very easily in its new home.
   The new site for your plant should be prepared before you set about digging out the plant to be moved. To prepare the site you should dig a hole larger than the root-ball of the plant. Fork generous amounts of organic matter and a handful of slow release fertilizer into the hole and hammer in a stake if the plant is being moved to a windy position.
   Before lifting a tree or a shrub it is usually a good idea to trim the plant back. This pruning should be done to help retain the balance of the plant above and below the ground. When a tree or a shrub is transplanted the root mass of the plant is almost always reduced, if this happens the plant will naturally shed any excess foliage.
   When digging a plant up for moving it is hugely important that you keep as much soil as possible around the root-ball, this is done to help protect the plants roots from damage and to keep them from drying out. Lift the plant very gently and keeping the roots well protected move it to its new home. Make sure that the plant is replanted to the same depth as it was growing before and firm in well around the roots.
   The secret to successfully trees and 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 couple of growing seasons.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.