The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Large Shrubs

Question: Is it wise to transplant a medium sized Tamarix; as well as a purple smoke? Both are doing well; however, they now are not positioned well.

Answer: Tamarix poses a special problem if it needs to be moved; it develops deep taproots. Nurseries can't keep plants in containers very long because of the taproots they grow, and the difficulty in transplanting without damaging the roots. Tamarix will reach a mature height of 6 -15 feet, depending on soil type and frequency of watering. If yours is less than 6 feet tall, you can attempt to move it, but be sure you don't sever the taproots while you're moving it. Purple Smoke Bush will take the transition to a new location without a lot of trouble. It's best to move trees and shrubs during their dormant period. Autumn and winter are the best times; natural rainfall and cooler temperatures lessen the shock factor. Treat your plants well for the first year after transplant, until they become established in their new locations. Apply one inch of water per week to each, and feed lightly in the spring to encourage new growth.

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