Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winter transplanting

After a few weeks of sinus woes, trying to hook up a new tv and sound system and watching an ever expanding waistline, I decided that I had to get outside. Today was the perfect day. Sunny, 60s, wonderful.

Moving plants is a good job for mid-winter. This is the best time to transplant most plants because they are now dormant. I have a long list of plants that I want to move this year. I started out with a rose called 'Lavender Pink Parfait.' According to the Antique Rose Emporium, this rose grows about 2 - 3'. Yeah right. Mine is at least 4 feet tall, positioned in the front of a border and looking totally out of place. I've wanted to move it for years.

Sorry for the terrible photo - I forgot to set the camera to autofocus.



The first thing to do is to prune it severely. I cut out all the dead wood and cut back the healthy canes within one foot of the ground. Pruning the plant will make it easier to deal with and also reduce stress on the plant when it starts to put out new growth in the spring.



Now it is time to dig it up. Carefully slide a shovel or spade all around the plant and gently move it back and forth to loosen the root system. You can usually tell when the plant is free from all roots. Lift it carefully out of the hole with the shovel.



Clean up the plant by removing all the dead wood and weeds that might be growing around it. You know those tree saplings that always pop up in the middle of the rose and are impossible to remove? Now is the time to pull them out.



The new planting hole should have been dug first. I add a bucket full of compost and good soil to ammend the new hole.



Place the rootball in carefully and fill the soil in around it. If, by chance, the soil fell away from the roots when you dug it up, don't worry about it. Just carefully spread the roots out and cover them with soil. Water it well after planting and tamp down the soil to eliminate any underground air pockets.



Last, but not least, mulch around the plant with leaves or pine straw.



Here we have a slightly different situation. This is hydrangea 'Tardiva' which has produced offshoots that can be dug up, removed and planted elsewhere.




I was anticipating a frustrating job with this because I thought it was going to be difficult to dig between the main plant and the offshoots. Fortunately the roots gave way fairly easily and it wasn't problematic at all. However, they came free without retaining any of the rootball. This always makes me nervous but really all you can do is plant it immediately and water it well. This has happened numerous times and the plant is usually okay. I ended up with three extra plants. I planted the larger one and potted the remaining two.


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14 comments:

Jan said...

Looks like you had a productive day. There are a few things I need to move, and you have inspired me to stop procrastinating get outside tomorrow and transplant them.
Have a Happy New Year, Phillip.

Jan
Always Growing

Darla said...

that was an informative post. Have always been a little nervous about my roses. That's why they look so crappy I'm sure.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Very informative and you did have quite a productive day.

Cameron

Phillip M said...

Good to see you're not just sitting around this winter!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can identify with the sinus and expanding waist line woes. Ha... Good job with the rose and hydrangea.

We have a couple of spring=like days but I haven't done much. It is supposed to get cold again tonight so I can relax until a little later in the winter to do much. I do get the urge to get out there when I read that you are working so hard in the garden.

Dave said...

It was a very good day to work in the yard! Our weather was pretty much the same. I managed to dig a new bed for self seeding annuals.

Jon said...

Happy New Year, Phillip! The weather was great today over here as well and I got a bit of pruning done. Everywhere I look I see things that need tending to so tomorrow I will attack my jungle again. I'm glad to see 2008go as it has been such a horrible year in so many ways.

All the best to you in 2009!

Jon at Mississippi Garden

Les said...

We are having relatively good gardening weather as well, I just wish I could motivate to get it done. I do not need to move anything, but the whole garden needs another round of clean up. Unfortunately my across the street neighbor has one of those damnable oaks that continues to drop large leaves until March. I hope you have a happy and prosperous new year!

(BTW, the verification word for this comment is "darednes")

Jamie and Randy said...

Well you sure have been busy! I was going to get out and do some work, but everything is so soggy. Were still getting rain and it stays cloudy so the sun doesn't come out to help things dry. Maybe we will have some decent weather soon.

Annie in Austin said...

You'll make the garden even more beautiful with these tweaks, Phillip!

In my garden transplanting involves the extra step of prying up buckets of rocks and transporting them to the fake creek.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lola said...

Looks like you had a great day. I need to move some plants but can't seem to get started.

Have a HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.
Let us all pray that it will be peace for the world.

The Garden Faerie said...

I find pruning back bushes (especially roses--I've never grown one myself but I've pruned a lot for clients or as a volunteer!) very satisfying, and I also like transplanting. Here in Michigan we can't do it mid-winter as the ground is frozen. I do a TON of transplanting in fall (Sept.-Oct.). In spring, I always kind of forget what I've done and am surprised by all the progress I made (hey! It's hard to see things under the snow!). One year, I couldn't find where I'd moved my fothergilla until it bloomed--but that's because I didn't know what its leaves looked like! ;-)
~ Monica
P.S. I've never been nervous pruning or transplanting, and it really is hard to kill a shrub.

flowergardengirl said...

They'll bloom like maniacs for you. I read your post with a lot of interest. I want to make sure I have the process down correctly and am not forgetting anything. Some time between now and March, I'll be moving some mature plants that I'm being given. It will be nice to get them but a lot of hard work to get them out of the ground.

Machelle said...

I had to pop over one more time to read this post. It is such a lovely warm day and I have a dogwood that I need to move. I am very dissatisfied where I planted it, so I think it will be moving today.I hope I don't kill it.