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10 Tips for Transplanting Plants and Bushes This Fall

Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on September 2, 2014

landscaping_equipment_plant removal.jpg

With fall right around the corner, you have the perfect season, and opportunity, to transplant plants or bushes, changing the look of your yard in just a few hours.

Most plants have the best chance of transplant survival when moved during their dormant season, or late fall. You can also increase chances of survival by digging and keeping as much of the root system intact as possible. While most assume that the root ball, or the thickest and most central part of the root system, is the most important, it is actually the finer, smaller roots that do most of the water gathering for the plant.

Renting equipment can make this digging process quicker, easier and safer for you and your plants, bushes and shrubs. 

To reduce the risk of an unsuccessful transplant or transplant shock, follow these simple tips:

  1. Take your time to find an optimal, new location for your plant. Evaluate the plant’s current location and status, determining whether the new location should be similar for soil type, sunlight and water.
  2. Be sure to dial 811 prior to digging, or check with your local utility company to avoid any utility lines or other dangers. 
  3. Water the soil around your plant the day prior to transplanting. This will help soften the ground and keep the root ball intact.
  4. Dig the hole at your plant’s new location prior to digging the plant out of the old location. The longer the plant’s roots are out of soil and exposed, the higher the risk of transplant shock.
  5. Be sure to dig the new hole twice to three times the width that you estimate the plant’s root ball to be. Don’t break up the soil at the bottom of this hole, and be sure to water it prior to transplanting.  
  6. Mark four to six inches out from where you determine the plant’s roots to end. This is where you should begin digging.
  7. Use a tarp to wrap the root ball while moving. Remember, this can get heavy! Request help, or use proper equipment to move.
  8. As you replant, pack down soil and water as you go to eliminate air pockets.
  9. Add a layer of landscaping mulch on top to help with water retention and maintain soil temperatures.
  10. Maintain your newly transplanted plant by watering regularly, but do not fertilizer until after the first year.

Transplanting plants, bushes or shrubs is a cost-efficient way to change the look of your yard, but proper execution can be a delicate process. Following the tips above and renting a tractor loader backhoe can help you relocate thriving, healthy plants. 

Tags: DIY, plants, bushes, transplanting, fall, fall weather, equipment rental, tractor loader backhoe