Transplanting Lily-of-the-valley - Knowledgebase Question

Round Hill, VA
Avatar for sleckie
Question by sleckie
February 7, 2000
I have a patch of lily of the valley approx. 6'X4' which grows in a very sunny spot in a front garden bed which gets a lot of heat in the afternoon sun. I tried late last spring to dig it up when I planted a redbud close to the location, but the roots(?) are so thick and matted that it was impossible to move them. Did I try at the wrong time of year? I would like to transplant it to a slope on the north side of my house under a very tall oak tree. What is the best, or easiest, time of year to dig it up? Any hints on transplanting? Thanks for your expertise!

Answer from NGA
February 7, 2000
The roots do tend to mat together so in my experience you have to move it in clumps almost like sod when it is in active growth. Do this in early to mid spring if you want to be able to see the foliage while you work. Otherwise you can move it in fall or very early spring by digging and replanting the pips. This plant is quite tough so it should survive nicely, expecially in its new shadier location. If possible, work some organic matter such as compost, old rotted leaves, or aged stable manure and bedding into the new planting area. Replant, water well and then simply be sure to keep moist until it becomes re-established. They may die back in mid-summer but should reappear nicely the next year. If you plant them rather far apart you may need to mulch in between them for weed control the first year or so, but they should fill in quickly.

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