Moving plants

 

Daylight savings time begins March 10. At some time or other we’ve all had to move a plant or shrub. For what ever reason – you have to move it or loose it. Here are some tips for moving shrubs.

• First tip — find some help. Large plants are heavy and cumbersome. It will take at least two people to lift a large shrub. To move a tree requires even more help.

• Have a sharp ax, round-tip shovel and spade. If you’re tools aren’t sharp, use a flat file to sharpen them.

• If the shrub is wide and grows low to the ground, use twine to wrap around the plant. Tie one end of the twine close to the ground onto a strong main trunk. One person can gently squeeze the plant while the other wraps.

• Use a ribbon to mark the “good side” of a shrub. A shrub growing close to the house will usually have a flat side.

• To keep a tight root ball, dig a 12 – to 14-inch wide ring around the plant.

Then use a spade to dig under the plant. Don’t try to rock the plant with the spade until you have undercut all the way around the shrub.

• Once the root ball is free, one person can tip the shrub to one side while the other slides a tarp under it. Then lay the shrub down in the opposite direction and pull the tarp all the way under the plant.
Now slide the shrub out of the hole.

• Don’t “shoehorn” a plant into the ground, make the new hole generous.

• Plant the shrub so that the root ball is a few inches higher than the surrounding grade. Most large heavy plants will settle after being watered.

• Backfill around the plant; use the shovel to tamp the soil lightly to make sure the dirt is settled around the root ball. Do not use your feet to compact soil.

• Water the plant in stages, adding more soil if necessary. Make sure root ball and surrounding soil are completely wet.

Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is an advanced Master Gardener.

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