Transplanting guide for all gardeners

Transplanting guide for all gardeners

Your transplanting

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.



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