Hummingbird House The Garden Helper
No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997
vine bar
Wild Willy
 

Moving Plants Out of Season

"HELP! I'm moving, house... and garden
I would appreciate any tips to move my garden.
My problem is that I have to move beginning of July when you are not supposed to change plants place."

With planning and preparation and reasonable care, you can move almost any plant at any time.

Set up a Temporary Nursery

Before doing any digging at your present location, set up a temporary nursery area at the new home. That way, when it is actually time to move the plants they will be unearthed for the shortest possible length of time. Because this is a summer time move, your biggest concern is that of the high temperatures. Your temporary nursery area should be shaded, airy, and as cool as possible. This can be on the north side of the house, or in the shade of trees.
If there is no natural shade available, I would suggest building a simple lath house.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy, expensive, or permanent. A 2x4 lumber frame with shade fabric (available at most nursery centers) or pre-made lath panels (available at most lumber stores) attached to the top will work very well.
Within this shaded area, you will need to dig a few "heeling trenches" as temporary planting holes.
Dig the trenches deep and wide enough that the entire root ball of each plant will fit easily in.
If you are dealing with shrubs as well as perennial plants, dig out the largest trench first, at the rear of the temporary shelter. Then dig successively smaller trenches toward the front, as needed for the different sizes of plants which you will be moving.
Wild Willy

Digging and Moving Your Plants

Before you begin digging your plants, you may want to remove about 1/3 of each plant's stems and foliage to lessen the shock of the transplant. (With some plants, this may not be appropriate)
Be sure to water each plant thoroughly before you dig!
The worst thing that can happen at this point is for the roots of your plants to dry out!
Using a good sharp shovel, cut a ring completely around the plant by pushing the shovel straight down, cutting through the roots just below the drip line.
For shrubs and larger plants, it may be necessary to dig a 6 inch wide trench around the plant on the outside of this line and then again make your drip line cut so that you now have cut the roots to a depth of two shovels.
The important thing is that the majority of the roots be CUT cleanly rather than broken off when the plant is removed from the hole.
Insert as many shovels as you have available into your drip line cut, spaced evenly around the plant. Apply even pressure to each shovel as you use them in a lever motion. POP!!!
Your plant will hopefully snap any remaining roots and lift slightly out of the hole. Remove the plant from the hole, and if appropriate or necessary for transporting the plant, wrap the root ball in burlap or set it into a bucket or large planter.
Keep as much soil as possible with the root ball.

Heeling in Your Plants

Water your heeling trenches thoroughly immediately before setting your plants into this temporary home.
Cut off any roots which were damaged in the moving process and set each plant into the appropriate trench, allowing a small space between each rootball.
Mix moist peat moss and/or wood shavings with the native soil to increase the water retention capabilities of the soil.
Using this mixture, work the soil in among the roots, and cover the entire root ball slightly deeper than at the depth it was previously covered.
Water your temporary garden again, thoroughly.
Take the necessary measures to control slugs and snails if they are a problem in your area!
Be sure to water this holding area regularly, but DO NOT feed the plants.
This method should keep your plants alive for many months, until you are ready to set them into their permanent garden home.