Ask a Question forum: Transplanting

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Milwaukee,WI
Kimmylove
Aug 15, 2017 3:03 PM CST
I have a problem. I transplanted seedlings to a bigger pot when they started to mature. I have tomatoes and jalapenos. I put 5 in each pot thinking that not all would survive but, they have! My tomatoe plants have each gotten pretty big and my jalapenos are starting to flower. I know they can't progress well for long in one pot but since they are big I know the roots are very tangled! I don't know how to safely take them out and separate them so I can put them in their own pots. I'm scared I'll kill them because I know roots are very delicate.(my first time growing). What should I do?
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Aug 15, 2017 6:03 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @Kimmylove .

The pot the tomatoes are in is definitely too small for even one plant... Their only real chance for them is if you carefully divide them up and put them individually into larger pots (at least 5-gallon size). One pepper plant might be okay in the pot that they are in, but somewhat larger would be better for those as well.

When you transplant them they might not all survive -- but then, you didn't expect them all to live in the first place, so I would suggest just doing your best with it. Also, both tomatoes and peppers can be planted more deeply than they were originally growing, which will give them better root systems. Cut all the leaves off except for the top few inches of each plant, then bury the stem in the new pot.

Good luck! Smiling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Milwaukee,WI
Kimmylove
Aug 15, 2017 6:17 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:Welcome to NGA, @Kimmylove .

The pot the tomatoes are in is definitely too small for even one plant... Their only real chance for them is if you carefully divide them up and put them individually into larger pots (at least 5-gallon size). One pepper plant might be okay in the pot that they are in, but somewhat larger would be better for those as well.

When you transplant them they might not all survive -- but then, you didn't expect them all to live in the first place, so I would suggest just doing your best with it. Also, both tomatoes and peppers can be planted more deeply than they were originally growing, which will give them better root systems. Cut all the leaves off except for the top few inches of each plant, then bury the stem in the new pot.

Good luck! Smiling


Is it best to wet the dirt when transplating or leave it dry? What's the best method to untangle roots?
Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
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KarenHolt
Aug 15, 2017 6:18 PM CST
When transplanting, add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts per gallon of water. Water transplants in with this mix and it will reduce transplant shock. It will also fertilize them. Try it. You'll be surprised.
Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
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KarenHolt
Aug 15, 2017 6:20 PM CST
Dig your hole in the dirt, add detangled roots, water with mix I posted above.

To detangle: dig the plant out, remove as much dirt as possible and start the detangling.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 15, 2017 6:24 PM CST
Peppers have relatively small rooting systems so a bigger pot may be all they need (at least 5 gallons).

Tomatoes root easily from cuttings so a little root damage won't be too damaging. Gently pull them apart - don't cut the root ball. Even with just a few roots, they will do fine.

As weedwhacker mentioned, tomatoes root along their stems so you can bury them up to within a couple inches of their tops.

Peppers do benefit from deeper planting but don't root with as much vigor as tomatoes. I would bury them only to the lowest leaves.

I wouldn't be surprised if all your plants survived.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 15, 2017 6:33 PM CST
KarenHolt said:When transplanting, add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts per gallon of water. Water transplants in with this mix and it will reduce transplant shock. It will also fertilize them. Try it. You'll be surprised.


If you are growing your vegetables in pots, skip the epson salts. Its too easy to overdo it. Stick with a fertilizer that is formulated for tomatoes. But, don't fertilze until your tomatoes start growing again. Stressed plants don't need nutrients, they need time to heal.

KarenHolt, you may want to read this:

http://www.gardenmyths.com/eps...

Gently dump the pot. Pull the root ball apart and replant them into individual pots. (as Weedwhacker stated, at least 5 gallons per plant).

Your potting soil must be thoroughly wet before you use it or it will burn the roots on the plants.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Aug 15, 2017 7:22 PM CST
I would definitely not "remove as much dirt as possible" from the roots. I think the best way to split your plants up might be to take the entire soil ball out of the pot and use a knife to cut that into sections with 1 plant per section. Then plant those individual clumps in the new pot full of dirt.

Also, "potting soil must be thoroughly wet" doesn't mean soggy/saturated/dripping. (I'm pretty sure Daisy will agree with this... Smiling )
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Milwaukee,WI
Kimmylove
Aug 15, 2017 7:26 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:I would definitely not "remove as much dirt as possible" from the roots. I think the best way to split your plants up might be to take the entire soil ball out of the pot and use a knife to cut that into sections with 1 plant per section. Then plant those individual clumps in the new pot full of dirt.

Also, "potting soil must be thoroughly wet" doesn't mean soggy/saturated/dripping. (I'm pretty sure Daisy will agree with this... Smiling )

I wouldn't think the roots would be tammed enough for the plants roots to be in their own sections under the soil. So if I cut it wouldn't i be cutting crossed roots? But I ordered 5 gallon fabric pots
Milwaukee,WI
Kimmylove
Aug 15, 2017 7:27 PM CST
Thank you all! I appreciate it alot!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 15, 2017 7:34 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:I would definitely not "remove as much dirt as possible" from the roots. I think the best way to split your plants up might be to take the entire soil ball out of the pot and use a knife to cut that into sections with 1 plant per section. Then plant those individual clumps in the new pot full of dirt.

Also, "potting soil must be thoroughly wet" doesn't mean soggy/saturated/dripping. (I'm pretty sure Daisy will agree with this... Smiling )


Daisy would agree with the "thoroughly wet" doesn't mean soggy/saturated/dripping.

Daisy does not agree with cutting into wedges. I think that gently pulling the plants apart will cause less damage. BUT, this is a preference.

You will have to make your own decision on this one. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Aug 16, 2017 7:52 AM CST
The soil in the pots is probably loose enough that you can separate the plants pretty easily without any cutting being necessary -- some roots will likely be damaged no matter how you do it, but that shouldn't cause any problem.

I think a bigger problem might be that your plants are pretty small and it's already mid August, it's going to be pretty late in the season by the time tomatoes start ripening.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
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Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
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KarenHolt
Aug 17, 2017 7:56 AM CST
This is my take on the subject. She is from WI. I imagine, she's too late for tomatoes no matter what she does. Someone from WI can tell me better if you get another crop between now and Oct. In any case, she wants to pot them up further. Daisy, while I appreciate your tip, it's tried and true for me. It's not easy to mix 1 tablespoon of epsom salts per gallon of water and overdo. The epsom salt mix will keep her plants from dying of transplant shock. She shouldn't even see more than a slight wilt by evening if she does this is in the morning. Since I started doing this, I have not lost one plant at any point of the season or growth stage to transplant shock. Before I did this, it was a 50/50 shot. She is stressing the plant by removing it, then detangling it or cutting the root ball, then replanting. That's alot of stress this late in the game. I suggested removing as much dirt as possible for detangling, not cutting a root ball. IF she's going to cut the root ball, she needs to take it out of the pot, then squeeze all the way around the root ball to loosen some dirt and roots. Roots are not going to grow if they are in a tight ball. But they will if they are loosened and allowed to search for water.
As far as the fertilization comment, I should really have been more specific. While epsom salts don't give tomato plants ALL the nutrients they need, they help the plant on reuptake of nutrients in the fertilizer she uses. I'm going to say if she is potting up in potting soil, there are no nutrients in that potting soil. She would need to use a fertilizer in addition to the epsom salts. Funny how my seedlings/starts all get the tablespoon/gal water + fertilizer if need be and they all survive to go on to be healthy plants.
I realize I probably should have said all this but her stating that she is new to at least tomato gardening, I did not want to create the problem I have with you Daisy. It would have been nice had you said, I have not used this method and don't think it will work as opposed to your dismissive attitude with a link. I will take some blame in this because I did not state my reasons for what I said. It was pretty terse on my part. I could have handled my part better.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 17, 2017 10:46 AM CST
I agree it may be late in the season for tomato seedlings to mature for you. But you can be more ruthless about separating seedlings than most people think. I've sawed them apart and just pulled them apart and it doesn't to reall make much difference. If they have roots attached they will grow and tomatoes are more forgiving than most plants because they will grow more roots along any buried stem.

I bought 3 pots of marigolds and salvia with 4 seedling in each, pulled the while soilballs out of the pots and sawed them all apart. They are thriving in 4 planters today.
Milwaukee,WI
Kimmylove
Aug 18, 2017 1:16 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:Welcome to NGA, @Kimmylove .

The pot the tomatoes are in is definitely too small for even one plant... Their only real chance for them is if you carefully divide them up and put them individually into larger pots (at least 5-gallon size). One pepper plant might be okay in the pot that they are in, but somewhat larger would be better for those as well.

When you transplant them they might not all survive -- but then, you didn't expect them all to live in the first place, so I would suggest just doing your best with it. Also, both tomatoes and peppers can be planted more deeply than they were originally growing, which will give them better root systems. Cut all the leaves off except for the top few inches of each plant, then bury the stem in the new pot.

Good luck! Smiling

Hi.. I did it! My pots came in mail yesterday.. They pretty much all look weak like this (took 30min later) will they recover?

Thumb of 2017-08-18/Kimmylove/853e9f

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Aug 18, 2017 2:06 PM CST
Put them in a sheltered spot (partly shady and protected from the wind) and they should perk up pretty quickly. Give them a few days to a week, then move them back to "full sun." And, of course, this can never hurt, either: Crossing Fingers!
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Aug 18, 2017 4:23 PM CST
They would do better if you buried most of the stems. There's too little root trying to support too much top.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

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