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Information on Transplanting Flowers

This article provides information on transplanting flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Transplanting Tips
by: Michael McGroarty

Early spring is a great time for transplanting flowers, trees and shrubs, but you must do so before they wake up. Transplanting a flowering plant is a very traumatic experience for it if it is awake. Itís like doing surgery on a person while they are awake. Dormancy starts in the autumn as soon as there has been a good hard freeze, and the plants remain dormant until the weather warms up in the spring. This is when you should transplant, while the plants are dormant.

You can transplant in the spring up until the plants leaf out. When the buds are green and swollen you are usually safe to still transplant, but once the leaf develops, you should wait until the autumn.

When transplanting shrubs, you can dig the them out bare root, just make sure they are out of the ground for as short a time as possible, and keep the roots damp while out of the ground.

Make sure there are no air pockets around the roots when you replant flowers, shrubs or trees. When possible, it is always better to dig a ball of earth with the plants when you transplant them. The rule of thumb is 12Ē of root ball for every 1Ē of stem caliper. For example, if the diameter of the stem of a tree is 2Ē, then you should dig a root ball 24Ē in diameter.

Donít be afraid of cutting a few roots when you transplant. Just try not to cut the roots any shorter than the above guidelines allow. Cutting the roots will actually help to reinvigorate the plant. Itís a process simply known as root pruning. When the roots are severed, the plant then develops lateral roots to make up for what is lost. These lateral roots are more fibrous in nature, and have more ability to pick up water and nutrients.

Some nurseries drive tractors over the plants in the field with a device that undercuts the roots of the plant just to force the plant to develop more fibrous roots. This makes transplanting the plant the following year much more successful, and makes for a stronger and healthier plant.

The old timers root pruned by hand by forcing a spade in the ground around their plants. If you have a plant in your landscape that is doing poorly, a little root pruning while the plant is dormant could bring it around. Itís worth the effort.

About the author: Michael J. McGroarty is the author of the article on the "Transplanting Flowers" Page. Visit his website and sign up for his free newsletter.

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