success will increase if you’ll observe a few
simple rules that take into account the plants’
needs. Basic as they are, simple as they may seem,
they are still the fundamentals around which successful
transplanting is built, so follow them and give
the plants the best of care following their transfer.
are the general rules. Those which have been starred,
refer to the drawings.
Cool, cloudy, humid weather is best, although
you can transplant at almost any time if you follow
the rules carefully and/or use one of the new
plastic sprays which conserve moisture, preventing
its loss through the leaves.
Prepare the new planting hole first. Make it wider
and deeper than you think necessary, removing
stones and debris as you dig. Either mix in peatmoss
and plant food to enrich any subsoil you dig up
or replace it with good rich topsoil or compost.
Then the hole will be ready and you won’t have
to make your plants wait, allowing the roots to
dry, while you prepare the fill soil. Water
the hole well; let it soak in.
A day or so ahead, soak around plants to be moved
so that you can dig deeply, get more roots and
keep a soil ball around undisturbed roots if possible.
In any case . . .
Keep roots moist during transplanting. Should
roots be bare (in dividing perennials this is
inevitable) keep them covered with a wet sack
or soak in a pail of water until used. Heel them
in if more than a few hours must elapse before
setting in place.
Try root ball for size in new hole to be sure
the roots will spread well without touching the
edge of the hole or without bending or tilting
up at the edges. Dig the hole at least 1 foot
larger than the spread of the roots for trees
and 6 inches larger for shrubs.
Place good soil under root ball so that the plant
will be the same depth it grew as before. (You
will be able to see soil mark on trunk or stems.)
Fill in around root ball, watering in and rocking
plant gently to settle and bind soil in contact
with roots, or work the soil in around the roots
with your hands.
Transplanting fertilizer solutions aid recovery,
giving the “booster” necessary to overcome transplanting
shock. Don’t be alarmed if plants are set back
a bit for a time.
Prune deciduous trees and shrubs (not broad-leaved
or needle evergreens) to compensate for loss of
roots, reducing twigs about 1/3, keeping future
shape of plant in mind. Don’t cut leaders (topmost
vertical twig) on trees or the shape will be spoiled.
Shade small plants from sun and protect from drying
winds. Wrap trunks of trees with burlap or tough
paper made for this purpose to prevent sunscald
the first year. Plastic sprays now permit moving
plants which are in full leaf.
Stake trees to avoid wind damage through tipping
which breaks small new roots. A small tree whose
trunk at waist height is under 3 inches in diameter
needs only one stake. Larger trees require two
stakes or, better, three or four guy wires. Set
stakes before filling the planting hole, then
tie the tree to the stakes with canvas or burlap
strips. Guy wires are run through sections of
hose around the trunk so they don’t cut the bark.
Water, water and WATER! Keep soil moist but not
soggy all summer, and sprinkle the foliage early
in the day at first. A 3-inch mulch of straw or
leaves the first year conserves water and discourages
Feed lightly the first season. Plants suffering
from moving-shock need light meals until new feeding
roots grow and get hungry.