Transplanting lilacs - Knowledgebase Question

Northborough, Ma
Question by pegwlmsn
April 3, 2010
I have 3 lilacs that were just stuck in ground near house when just 2-3 inches tall, now are 3-4 ft and need to be moved. When is best time to transplant? Do I need to prune them? What is best way to handle them?


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Answer from NGA
April 3, 2010

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If your lilacs are flowering, you might want to wait until they have finished flowering this spring before you dig and move them. If flowers aren't important, you can dig and move them now. Expect the roots to be directly beneath each shrub, about 12 inches deep and extending out to the tips of the longest branches. It's okay to sever some of the smaller, outer roots but try to keep the major portion of the root system intact. Move one at a time so you can set it back into the ground as quickly as possible. Plant them at the same soil level as they were growing before and water them well after the move to help settle the soil. Water deeply once each week to help the roots become established in their new homes. You can prune them back for easier handling but try not to remove more than about a third of the live plant material. Taking off too much can really stress them. Good luck with the move!

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