The Q&A Archives: When/how to move shrubs and perennials

Question: I live in CT and have a few questions.

Can I move my Warminster Broom (Cytisus) now or is it better to wait until next spring? I planted it this year and it is about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. What procedure should I follow?

I also have a Rose of Sharon and a Lilac bush that are too close together. I'd like to move the Rose of Sharon. It's about 10 years old, about 5 feet high and 3 feet wide. It has one main trunk, so it looks more like a tree than a bush. When is the best time to move it? What procedure should I follow?

Finally, I planted my first perennial flower garden this year and the plants are spreading rapidly. Is there a general rule to follow regarding when to split the plants? Can all perennials be split? Thank you.

Answer: Both spring and fall are good seasons to transplant, dig and divide and do all kinds of things with your landscape. This is because temperatures are generally mild and rainfall abundant, both of which will lessen transplant stress. If you're not inclined to get out in the cold autumn weather, you can wait until spring to do your moving and dividing. Your broom won't mind being moved in the spring. Simply dig it out, taking as much of the root system as possible, and replanting. Make sure it is planted at the same soil level as it was growing before (not too deep, not too shallow). Water it in well after replanting. Your Rose of Sharon will appreciate being moved before it begins to grow in the spring. Think of it as sneaking up on the shrub while it's still dormant (sleeping). A shrub that's been in the ground for 10 years will have an extensive root system and if you move it while it is actively growing, you may set it back for several months. If you move it while it is dormant, it will barely notice the change. As for your perennials, in most instances you can divide them by simply placing your shovel or spade in the center of the plant and cutting right through the foliage and roots. I use a garden fork to lift the perennial out of the ground and then cut them into several divisions. As long as each division has roots with some stems attached, each should recover and grow well.

Best wishes with your landscape!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Fleur569 and is called "Shamrock Zinfandel"