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Transplanting Deciduous Shrubs

Shrubs to be transplanted from a natural stand or from one part of a yard or garden to another are most safely taken with a ball of earth on the roots. The size of the ball will vary with the size of the plant. The average shrub should be transplanted with a ball of earth about one half the spread of the branches. This is simple enough for plants growing in a clay or clay loam soil. Shrubs growing in a sandy or gravelly soil are more difficult to move with a ball of earth than are those grown in clay or clay loam because the soil will fall away from the roots as the plant is dug. However, plants growing in light soils can be more easily dug with a large root system.

A pick is used to comb the roots, thus saving a large portion of the root system. A shovel may also be useful to remove loose soil, but care must be taken not to cut or damage the roots. If this work is done during a cloudy day, or during a rain, the roots will not dry out while the plant is being moved. If the shrubs must be moved on a sunny day, the soil should be puddled around the roots so the small roots will be covered with this mud. This precaution should be supplemented by covering the roots with wet burlap to protect them from the sun and wind.

Any plant should be planted in the new location as soon as possible. As with any plant transplant, take care to minimize the "shock" to the plant. Avoid cutting roots or breaking branches as much as possible.


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