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To Transplant or Not Transplant?

Happy September from Desert Rose! In this month's blog, we will discuss the risks of moving (transplanting) established plants, as well as how to mitigate the likelihood of the plant dying. To start off, the best time to transplant something that is already established is when the plant is dormant; this time is usually during the winter months. This can be a little difficult since the ground may be frozen, which can cause you to break the root ball. This will expose and damage the main roots, which will greatly increase the chance of the plant dying. To avoid potentially damaging the root ball, it is best to do so as soon as the plant goes dormant, prior to the ground freezing. Transplanting during this time is ideal since it will allow the plant to focus on growing roots during the winter months instead of trying to grow foliage during periods of growth in the Spring and Summer. However, if you must transplant during the growing months, here are some tips to put the odds in your favor, which can help that plant to start thriving as soon as possible: - First, make sure the transplant is manageable. Medium-sized trees as well as large shrubs are extremely difficult to transplant, which creates a very low likelihood of surviving. - If moving the plant is feasible and you choose to proceed, make sure to water the plant thoroughly a day or two before the plant is to be dug up. This helps reduce the chance of the root ball breaking. - Make sure to take your time digging up the root ball. The better the root ball is kept intact, the more likely the plant is to survive. - Plant the root ball in the desired area and fill in with amended soil. Make a big posa (mound) around the transplant and water every other day for 10-14 days to help ease the plant’s stress during this transitional time. Giving the plant root stimulant (which can be purchased at any local nursery) will also help to reduce the stress on the plant. - Lastly, don’t be surprised if the plant wilts, or even loses all its leaves, as transplantation is very stressful for any plant. Every transplant is a gamble, but using the tips above will greatly increase the chance of your plant surviving. Happy planting!


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