It’s Transplanting Time

    • Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs! It’s time to plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus and many other flower bulbs for beautiful blooms next spring.
    • Plant Paperwhite Narcissus in pots for sweet-smelling Christmas gifts.
    • Dress up your interior landscape with some new houseplants for the holidays ahead.
    • Rake and destroy leaves from fruit trees that were diseased this year.
    • Clean up dead foliage on perennials like peonies, daylilies and balloon flower and cut back dead flower stems on Echinacea, blanket flower and penstemon.

It’s Transplanting Time

November is the best month of the year for rearranging plants in your garden. Sometimes, as the landscape becomes more shaded over time, a plant may fail to thrive and need to be moved to a sunnier spot. Or perhaps it has outgrown its designated space but you have a better location where you would like to have it.

If you need to dig up a plant and move it, this is the time to do that, before all of the leaves have fallen from deciduous trees. When a plant is dug up, it loses most of its roots and must replace them. Fall is a good time for it to grow new roots without needing to support new top growth as well. This is also the best time to transplant native shrubs and small trees.

To move a plant, first dig the new hole before you dig up the tree or shrub. Once you dig up the plant, the longer its roots go without a home, the lower your chances for a successful transplanting. The new hole should be twice as wide as the rootball but the same depth.

When you dig up the tree or shrub, start digging at least a foot away from the trunk, and dig a little trench in a circle around the plant. Then dig underneath it and loosen the plant’s grip on the soil below. Spread a tarp on the ground nearby, and gently move the plant onto the tarp keeping as much of the rootball intact as possible.

Drag the plant over to the new location and gently slide it into the hole. Make sure that it is no deeper than it was planted before. Straighten the plant and shovel the native soil back into the hole. Tamp this soil down firmly and water it as you go to eliminate air pockets.

We are frequently asked about amending soil when planting. In the case of a tree or shrub planted alone, use no more than 25% amendment added to the native soil as backfill. That means one scoop of compost to three scoops of native soil. The plant will need to grow into the native soil in order to survive, and putting too much amendment into a relatively small hole will only encourage it to remain in the amended soil and not grow out into the native soil.

Stake trees to give them support while their roots are developing. Use two stakes, placing each one 6 inches from the trunk, and loop soft ties around the stakes and trunk so it can move a little. A tree that sways somewhat in the wind will establish more anchor roots and add more trunk girth than one that is tied firmly to a stake.

Don’t stop thinking about the garden just because the leaves are falling. Instead, use the wonderful autumn season to rearrange plants and add new specimens to your garden.

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