It’s not unusual for gardeners to move or transplant a shrub, tree, or plant from one location to another. But seeing that plant thrive after it’s moved is another matter.
Illinois State University horticulturist Patrick Murphy talks with GLT's Mike McCurdy about successful transplants for this edition of our gardening show Grow.
- When’s the best time to transplant a plant? Depends on the plant. Spring bloomers like the dogwood tree should be moved in the spring, so they’ve got the whole growing season ahead of them. Most other plants do best with a fall move, once the leaves start to change color.
- Summer is generally not a good time to transplant, because it’s too hot. Sometimes you have to move something anyway. If you do, mark the north side of the tree or woody shrub so that you keep it pointed the same direction once it arrives at its new home. That’ll reduce stress on the plant. And water the hole a few times before setting it in place.
- Soil temperature is hugely important, according to Murph. Cooler soil in the fall helps root growth.
- Need to dig a hole? Murph’s rule of thumb is that the width of a root ball should be 1.5 feet times the width of the trunk where it emerges from the ground. So even a small 3-inch tree needs a big root ball of around 4.5 feet in total width. And ideally, the width and height of a root ball should match.
Get more tips by listening to the full episode below:
Next week on GLT's Grow: Murph and Mike talk about Oak wilt disease in central Illinois.
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