Moving Plants to a New Home (movingplants)

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Moving Plants to a New Home

by Don Janssen, UNL Extension Educator

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Today's mobile society often lands gardeners in the predicament of moving away from their beloved gardens at a time of year that is less than ideal for transplanting. Devoted gardeners just hate the thought of leaving all of their beautiful plants behind.

Ideally, the time to move most perennials is either spring or early fall. The hot, dry weather of summer is about the worst time of year to move any plant. But, sometimes, you just can't wait for ideal conditions.

If you must move plants in the summer, realize that you will lose some of the root system, no matter how carefully you dig. Move as large a root ball as possible, using burlap, plastic sheeting, or trays to keep the root ball intact during the move.

Shade the plants from sun and wind during the move. Keep the root ball moist, and replant as soon as possible. Try to have the new planting site prepared ahead of time to help decrease the amount of time the plants have to spend out of the ground.

Once in the new location, water plants thoroughly to establish good root to soil contact immediately after planting. If possible, try to time transplanting for an overcast. If only sunshine abounds, aim to move plants late in the day when the hot sun will be heading toward sunset.

You will need to pamper newly set transplants with more frequent watering than you would for established plants, at least until they have a chance to produce new roots. Hot, dry, windy weather will often cause the plants to wilt, even if the soil is moist, since the roots are not yet established in the new location. Provide shade, if possible, to protect the plants from the hot afternoon sun. Apply a two- to four-inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded or chipped bark, to conserve moisture, cool the soil and minimize competition from weeds.

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(This resource was added May 2007 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office

Contact Information

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
in Lancaster County
Web site:
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A,
Lincoln, NE 68528
| 402-441-7180