Best Way to Move a Plant in Your Own Garden

There are all sorts of valid reasons for moving a plant. It may be growing too big and need to be moved further back. It may be a frail plant being overshadowed. It may be too similar in leaf texture to its neighbor. It may bloom at the wrong time for its companion plant. It may turn out to have an impossible flower color.

Whatever the reason, you’re in charge, so go ahead and move it. Think of the operation not so much as digging a plant but moving a sizable chunk of garden with that plant in it. You will increase your chances of success if you can plan to get the idea one day and move it the next. This enables you to water it the night before the move. Damp soil holds together better than dry.

Garden Plant Best Way to Move a Plant in Your Own Garden

Next day, dig a suitable hole and half fill it with compost. Now dig your plant in its chunk of soil, carry it carefully on a spade, and lower it into the prepared hole. This time do not disturb the root ball. Put loose soil into any visible cracks, and firm until you cannot see the outline of the transplant. Water thoroughly but gently with a slow trickle from the hose. In all likelihood that plant won’t know it’s been moved.

On one or two occasions I’ve had to move plants without any of the valid reasons I’ve listed. Two large and sportive dogs had chased a chipmunk into a flower border that I had primped and plumped for a Significant Occasion in a client’s garden, three miles away. The delphiniums were the first to go, their hollow, five-foot stalks snapping off below the flower spikes.

I dug three from my own garden, wrapped each huge root ball in plastic, and splinted the long flower stems with thin bamboo. I laid them down flat in the back of my small station wagon, and with the gate open drove the three miles in twenty minutes. And, at six in the morning, in a fine mist, I put them in beside the broken ones. The mist cleared. The sun came out. The Occasion was a great success.

Garden Plant 1 Best Way to Move a Plant in Your Own Garden

When it was over I brought them home in the dusk and replanted them. One had distinct curvature of the flower spike, but next morning all were fine and remained so. I would have liked to boast, but couldn’t do so without ever after being suspected of garden fakery.

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