Transplanting trees and shrubs seems like an easy task on the surface, but if you aren’t attentive with removal or installation you could harm or kill the plants. Let’s explore how to safely move existing shrubs to a new location so they can thrive for decades to come.
Removing the Shrub
We recommend transplanting on an overcast day (preferably in the morning), to minimize direct exposure to sunlight. Please note: if transplanting, dig your planting hole first before removing the shrub from its current location.
1. Use a spade to dig a trench around the widest part of your shrub. An average root ball is about 2/3 of shrub spread, which should serve as a good rule of thumb. Dig your depth to match the length of the spade.
2. After digging, slide the spade under the shrub to loosen. If the spade is not sharp enough to cut roots, use pruners at this stage.
3. Carefully remove the shrub from the home. Place on a tarp or use a wheelbarrow for easy transportation to the new location.
Transplanting the Shrub
1. Dig a planting hole two times the size of the root ball. Set aside the removed soil – you’ll need it again for the next step.
2. Mix the removed soil in equal parts with a triple mix soil. This soil mixture will be used to backfill around your shrub.
3. Add the soil mix to the bottom of the hole, followed by bone meal. Make sure there is at least an inch of soil between bone meal and the root ball. Please note: the top of the root ball should be above surrounding grade, unless the plant you are transplanting is of a large size. In that case, mound the root ball above surrounding grade by a few inches or leave the soil in the bottom of the hole undisturbed.
4. Before removing the plastic pot, make sure to water the shrub well. The container should come off easily. If it does not, carefully make cuts down the size of the container, then slide.
5. Carefully loosen roots, making sure to remove loose soil by hand. If the roots are pot-bound, make a few cuts (about half an inch deep from top to bottom) and spread the roots by hand when placing in the hole.
6. Backfill to half of the depth of the hole. Water thoroughly – this will eliminate air pockets.
7. Backfill and water once more. This extra watering will help with soil compaction. If you are using a transplant solution, now is the time to apply it.
8. For the first year or two, you will need to water shrubs regularly – just keep an eye out for whether the top inch of soil is dry.
Ritchie Feed & Seed is proud to provide expert advice to home gardeners, landscape contractors, and other outdoor-lovers throughout the Ottawa area and Eastern Ontario. Our garden centres and garden supply stores are conveniently located in Ottawa, Stittsville, Richmond, Brockville, and Winchester, and our friendly garden experts are ready to serve you!