Moving mistakes

first_imgBy Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaLandscape mistakes can come back to haunt you. You thought theshrubs you planted a while back were perfect, but now you can’tget the door open or see out the picture window. Fortunately,winter is a great time to correct these mistakes.You don’t have to live with your landscape mistakes, says GaryWade, a horticulturist with the University of Georgia ExtensionService. Move them to a better place. And don’t wait. Do it now.”February is a good time to move plants,” Wade said. “If you doit right, there’s no reason they shouldn’t thrive in a new spotin the landscape.”You’ll still be able to enjoy them,” he said. “And you can putsmaller, more appropriate plants in the places the big shrubshave overgrown.”When moving plants, he said, you’ll be cutting off a largeportion of the roots, so you’ll have to prune back the top, too,to compensate. You may need to remove one-third or more of thecanopy.Top, tooHowever, if you remove half or more of the canopy and have to cutback to large stems, you might as well prune the plant all theway to the ground. Otherwise, it may look like a shrub on legswhen it begins growing again.Most broadleaf shrubs can be severely pruned, but never cut backjunipers, pines, spruce or other conifers, Wade said, becausethey won’t form new growth when they’re cut back to old wood.Boxwoods are slow to regrow after severe pruning, he said, soprune them conservatively when you move them.If you can avoid pruning back large, spring-flowering shrubs likeazaleas when you transplant them, they will still flower in thespring. Then you can reshape them with pruning after they bloom.When you dig up a large shrub, he said, save as many roots as youcan.”Most of the roots are within the top 12 inches of soil,” hesaid, “so it’s important to get as much of the surface roots asyou can.”How to do itAs a rule, he said, the width of the root ball should be 12inches plus an extra 2 inches for each foot of height above 2feet. In other words, a shrub 6 feet tall would have a root ballat least 20 inches wide — 4 (feet) times 2 inches plus 12 inches.”Carefully cut underneath the ball and place a piece of cloth,such as burlap, under it,” he said. “If the shrub is large, itmay take two people to carry or drag it to its new location.”When transplanting, time is critical, Wade said. Before you digthe plant, dig the new hole so there is no time delay in gettingit to its new home.”Roots die quickly when exposed to sun and air,” he said, “sogetting them in the ground as quickly as possible will helpsurvival. Also, make certain the shrub is planted no deeper thanit was growing in the previous location.””As soon as you plant it, water it thoroughly,” he said. Thatshould be all you have to do.But don’t forget about the plant. You could still lose it if youhave a period without rain during the next few weeks.”Don’t let the root system dry out,” Wade said. “You may need towater it from time to time. Keep the roots moist, but not wet,and it should do fine.”(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more