The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Weigelia

Question: We have a flowering weigelia which is about 5ft tall by 4-5 ft wide and about 7-8 years old. My husband wants to build a shed where it is now planted and would prefer to cut it down to avoid having a "sinkhole" of sorts under the shed, than to transplant the bush. I would rather transplant it. We'd like to know approximately how deep and wide the ball is and whether it can or cannot be easily transplanted.

We live in zone 5B.

Answer: It is quite a job to transplant a mature shrub and the root ball will be very heavy. Usually the roots extend as far out as the branches, and about a foot or more deep. When digging the plant, take as many roots as possible and trim back the top portion to compensate for the root loss. You could conceivably take a root ball about two to three feet in diameter and cut the top growth back to the ground if you do it in very early spring as soon as the soil can be worked and before the plant has come out of dormancy. Keep the plant watered and mulched for the first year or two while it reestablishes itself just as you would a new shrub. The benefit to transplanting as opposed to buying a new one is that this one should regrow to its full size faster than a new one would reach it. On the other hand, there are many new varieties of this shrub on the market now, including those in smaller sizes and different shades of pink and red and some with different colors of foliage.

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