Now’s the time to: Transplant overgrown plants in your garden

If your garden is anything like mine, each year I’m in need of moving plants around to different spots so that they can continue to thrive. Sometimes, this is because they have outgrown one spot and need more room. Sometimes, this is because a plant has died and I need something to feel the gap. Other times, the initial planting location may not have provided the plant with either sunlight, and it needs to be moved to an area where it gets more sun to promote blooms.

transplanting shrubs

There are many reasons to transplant trees, shrubs, or accent plants around your garden… here are some simply steps to make sure that you have success in doing so:

  1. Water the plant well the day before you dig it up. This will hydrate the plant roots and leaves, so that it will not dry out so quickly when being uprooted!

  2. Plan out the move and begin digging a hole where you want the new home to be. This will reduce the time that the plant is out of the soil so that the roots can remain lively.

  3. Make a good clean cut on the root ball and try to take out the majority of the main root structure. I tend to start digging around the drip line (the place that the exposed leaves reach out from the center) and then adjust accordingly. If the plant is rather large, I will almost always reduce that digging zone because it will likely be too heavy to lift, especially with all of the soil that remains attached to the roots. If the plants are smaller and more delicate, I will try to take more soil as to not harm them more than necessary.

  4. Once the plant is dug up, you will want to carry or wheelbarrow it over to the new location.

  5. Judging from the size of the root ball, continue to dig out the new hole to fit the transplant. You can dig a little bit further down, but definitely be sure to dig out and around the sides some more. The general rule of thumb is to remove about 2x the dirt that the root ball consumes.

  6. Apply an all natural granular plant food and water lightly after application.

  7. Place the transplant in the hole and be sure that the root ball is not settled in too deep. If the hole is too deep, the plant may suffer from root rot or poor drainage.

  8. Fill in around the root ball with an amended soil. You can use some of the original soil, but depending on the quality, you will want to supplement with a garden soil or planting mix that will help amend the poor soil and make it more moisture retentive for the new plant!

  9. Apply one more light coating of all natural plant food to the top of the soil and water the soil (and plant leaves) after transplanting. This will help the soil settle into place and replenish the plants loss of water.

Couple more things to keep in mind… Try to avoid transplanting in the summer, since intense heat and drought like conditions can ruin all of your hardwork. Also, you will need to water the transplants each day that rain is not expected. The larger the plant, the deeper the watering that is needed. Be sure to water based on the plant needs. If you see wilting, then you obviously need to water. However, if the plant is one that prefers drier conditions (or tolerates them), then you will want to be careful. Overwatering can saturate the roots and cause rot.
Follow these steps and avoid the hottest weeks of the year, and I’m sure that you will see success when transplanting your overgrown trees, shrubs, and accent plants.
Thanks for reading,
Derek Satterfield

Rollier's Hardware

Phone: 412-561-0922


Address: 600 Washington Road
Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228

Store Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm and Sun 10am-5pm 


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