The Q&A Archives: Failing transplanted viburnum

Question: I transplanted my viburnum from a full sun spot in the back yard to a partial sunny spot in the front yard during the spring. It failed miserably. I cut it back severly. Will the viburnum return? What can I do to help it along?

Answer: It sounds as though your viburnum has gotten off to a rough start. Fall is the best time to dig and move them. Most viburnums grow well when planted in moist, rich and slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5 to 6.5). Incorporate organic soil conditioner at planting, so that the future root area of the planting bed contains 10 to 20 percent organic matter. Mulch the plants or bed with 4 to 6 inches of pine straw or 2 to 3 inches of bark to help moderate soil temperatures and slow evaporation.

As with most shrubst, fall planting of viburnums is ideal. However, plants are often most readily available in nurseries at bloom time in the spring. Container grown plants can be planted at that time, but extra attention will need to be given to watering through the summer heat.

Many viburnums flower best in full sun, but light preferences vary from full sun to mostly shade. Many species will tolerate summer heat better if planted where they receive afternoon shade or shade during the hottest part of the day. Once established in a suitable site, most viburnums have low maintenance needs. Deep soak even well-established plants during long dry spells. Periodically remove old and weak canes. The height and spread of most viburnums can be regulated with selective thinning pruning in early spring. If an overgrown plant needs to be renewal pruned, this should be done in the early spring. Some of the small-leafed evergreen viburnums can be sheared, but be aware that shearing will remove most flower buds and/or berries. To preserve flowers, wait to prune until just after bloom.

I hope your viburnum recovers and regains its health!

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