The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Methods

Question: We are moving into a new house across town. I have plants I always take with me. For example, I have iris from my great-grandmother's yard, a Daphne from my grandmother's yard. Several azaleas rooted for me by my grandmother and 2 dogwood trees she grew from saplings. They are still small enough to move. I know how to prepare the new ground for the plants and how deep or soil type needed. My question is on how to dig up these plants. How far out from the plant should you go to start loosening it from the ground. The iris and azaleas I can handle since they grow relatively close to the surface. How about my Daphne, Hydrangeas, and Dogwoods? How much original dirt should I keep with the roots? Along the same line, I have a camellia trained onto 2 trellises wide. I also have a climbing hydrangea on a trellis. So my questions are how best to dig out shrubs withoug cutting too much root and how best to get a plant well established on a trellis out of the ground? I have done this kind of transplantation before, but I want to make sure I am using the best methods for the health of the plants. Thank You
Charlotte NC

Answer: Beverly,

The smaller plants are easy to move. The dogwoods may be very difficult as they don't take kindly to the idea! The hydrangeas and daphne should be doable. Try to get as much of the soil as is practical. Wider may be better than deeper depending on where the roots are growing in that soil. This won't be easy since the soil is so heavy. I would try to dig and slip a tarp under the plant then dig the other side and slide it up on the tarp. This is easier than lifting them as several folks can grab tarp corners making lifting easier.

The best time to do this is in mid to late fall. Then move them to the new home asap, plant them at the same depth they were previously growing, and water them in well.

Good luck with your move. Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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