Family is home and we are enjoying their company. But, while you have those extra hands around make sure to get some free labor out of them. Although it is unseasonably warm, if you want to move any old shrubs the time to do so is fast approaching.
January and February are considered the best months to move healthy but overgrown shrubs in the landscape. Moving a plant during dormancy will cause the least harm. When we move plants to new locations, we are cutting off a good chunk of their feeder roots. By doing this in January or February, the shrubs are not as affected by the sudden loss of roots. They have time to grow new roots as spring progresses.
Before you start to dig up your shrub, it is recommended that you cut the limbs back on the shrub by at least one-third. This will help to lower to total leaf area that the shrub’s roots will have to support during recovery. This should increase the plant’s survival chances after transplanting.
When digging out your shrub, try to save as much of the existing root system as possible. Again, more roots will increase the chance of survival. Dig a trench all the way around the shrub.
Carefully trench out underneath the shrub until it is free from the surrounding soil. Lift up the root ball and slide a large piece of burlap or a plastic tarp underneath. This will make it easy for two people to transport the shrub to its new location.
Shrubs often change their growth patterns when exposed to different light situations. To help avoid this, tie a piece of string or flagging tape to the side of the shrub that faces north. This will help you properly align the tree in its new planting hole and retain its original growth form.
Your new planting hole will need to be at least two or three times as wide as your shrub’s root ball. Make sure the planting hole is the same depth as the root ball. Planting the shrub too deeply will harm the plant. To be on the safe side, plant your shrub and inch or two higher than before to allow for soil settling.
Add a 3-inch layer of mulch on top of your new planting hole. Be sure not to pile the mulch up around the base of the shrub. This will hold excess moisture on the base of the shrub and make it susceptible to insect and disease infestation. Water the shrub thoroughly after planting.
Irrigate deeply and infrequently if no rain is in the forecast.
For more information or questions, contact Effingham Ag Agent Sam Ingram at 754-8040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.