The Q&A Archives: Emergency Lilac Transplant

Question: I have moved and taken my 4ft. tall lilac with me. I need to get it back in the ground ASAP (was removed 3-25 and potted). What is the best thing I can add to the soil to promote rapid root growth? I am willing to add chemical whatever to make sure it will do well. This is it's 4th transplant in about eight years and it has always managed well (althought it has a slower growth rate) but I've had it longer than my husband and want to make certain it thrives. Please help!

Answer: There really is no magical ingredient, you just need to dig the hole to a generous size and then water it as needed after planting. The best thing you can do for it is to dig the hole as deep as the root ball and then break up the soil below the hole. Then dig the hole wide, about three to four times wider than the root ball. Roughen the sides of the hole to avoid leaving a slick surface. You can add a bit of compost to the backfill soil if you wish. Replant, water it thoroughly to eliminate air pockets, and then mulch over the root area with several inches of organic mulch. The most important thing after that is to keep the soil slightly moist like a wrung out sponge -- not sopping wet and never dried out. Good luck wiht your lilac!

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