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Transplanting shrubs

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by netwiz on August 09, 2006 02:10 AM
I have about 15 full size shrubs that I am giving away and want to make sure to dig them up properly. I've noticed that when digging up smaller shrubs the soil does not stay with the roots. In other words, I end up with a bunch of naked roots. I've always heard you need to have a 'root ball', which I've assumed was a ball of soil surrounding the roots. Will the shrubs transplant ok without the root ball? I can put moist peat moss around the roots while they are exposed if that would help. Any suggestions or thoughts?

by johnCT on August 09, 2006 02:55 AM
In general the middle of summer is not a great time to transplant anything. You can try moistening it a bit and compact the area under the shrub's dripline with your feet to help the soil stay together. Make sure to tell the people you're giving them to that they MUST keep them well watered for a while. What type of plants are they?

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John - Zone 6
by netwiz on August 09, 2006 03:27 AM
Hi John,

Thanks for the suggestions. I plan to wait until early fall to start digging the shrubs up. I figured the hot weather would definitely hurt the chances of survival.

I have several types to dig up. Chinaberry, 2 different types of holly, barberry and 3 or 4 kinds of pine and boxwood?.. not really sure what they are.

I would hate to see them all go to waste and hope I can dig them out correctly. Wetting the area before digging sounds like a good idea. The dry soil might be the reason it didn't hang onto the roots. We have rocky clay soil here, in case that changes things?

Thanks again,
by papito on August 09, 2006 03:40 AM
I agree with John that the middle of summer is not the right time to do any transplanting. They will have a better chance to survive when fully dormant or just before active growth.

Add this to what John already said: One day before, soak the soil really good around the the roots so it won't fall away from the roots as you move the the plant. Tell your friend or the people you are giving it to to prepare the hole making it as deep and twice as wide as the size of the root ball.

Next day, Using a spade, cut around the shrub. Take as large a root ball as possible. Gently lift the root ball from the ground with the spade to a burlap, wrap the root ball for transporting to the destination hole.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by netwiz on August 09, 2006 05:38 AM
Thank you Papito, great advice. I will have to use beach towels instead of burlap since that's all I have availible. I'll make sure to keep it moist during transport.


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