Gardentime
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Transplanting Shrubs

Hello,

Last Spring I purchased many plants at the local home center as we re-landscaped our front beds. I have found some better places for a few of our shrubs, so I would like to know is it possible to transplant these after only 8 months of being in the ground? (I would imagine they should not be heavily rooted yet with their rootballs mostly intact) If this is possible, when would be the best time to transplant? I have heard differing things so I wanted to ask this question to be safe. I live in zone 6-7 (CT). I am not sure whether to do this now as the plants are dormant (one of them is a rhododendron) or to wait until the forsythia's bloom?


Thanks..

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Kisal
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You can transplant the rhodie now. They have a small, shallow root system for their size, and as long as they are treated reasonably gently and get regular watering -- keep them moist, but not soggy -- transplanting doesn't disturb them much. I have moved full-grown rhodies in the middle of the summer, and they've done just fine. Rhodies do require well-drained, acidic soil and prefer partial sun.

I'm not absolutely positive about the forsythia, but I can't come up with any reason why it shouldn't be okay to transplant it now. Again, treat the roots with some care, and then make sure the soil is kept moist, but not soggy.
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Gardentime
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Kisal, I do not have a forsythia, I was just using it as a reference of when I should transplant, since forsythia's are usually the harbringers of Spring.

As with the Rhododendron, you mentioned watering regularly. That is, water it in the Summer months, not during the winter, correct?

Sorry for the confusion.

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Kisal
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:lol: Sorry! I was watching a documentary while I wrote that post! I guess I'm getting too old to multitask anymore! :lol: :lol: :lol:

I don't know what the weather patterns are like in your area, and you don't give your zone. What you want to do is keep the roots moist. If there isn't enough rain to do that, then you'll have to water, no matter what the season. The roots will need steady moisture to reestablish themselves. Of course, there's no need to water if the ground is frozen solid or covered with snow. The frozen ground will be wet as it thaws, and snow will provide moisture as it melts. If you have bare, non-frozen ground, then you'll have to keep an eye on it, to make sure the ground doesn't dry out too much.

Rhodie's are pretty forgiving, so it isn't something you need obsess over. If the leaves start to look a bit droopy, definitely give the thing some water. It's best not to let it wilt, but if it happens once or twice, it certainly won't kill the shrub.

(I hope that makes sense! I've turned YouTube off! :lol: )
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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Sorry, Kisal, but I still don't think it makes sense. Gardentime did give their zone as 6-7. And no I don't know why you would want to transplant anything in the middle of winter. If you did it carefully taking a big root ball area, it will probably survive, but why bother? Wait until early spring when it is coming out of dormancy, so it will put down roots in the new place. Much preferable.

But yes, even though it just got moved last spring, it will be ok if moved again this spring, with a little pampering.
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applestar
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Some people may disagree here, but I think "when forsythias start to bloom" may be a tad later than you want. I believe it's better to transplant BEFORE the buds start to move. My current favorite window is after it's time to plant peas (i.e. ground is thawed and dried enough to dig) but BEFORE it's time to plant seed potatoes (i.e. forsythias start to bloom).

Actually, this is the timing I favor for bareroot plants -- but the same idea applies, I think, since the roots will be disturbed in the digging. Try to dig a rootball somewhat (at least 2~3 inches all around, 4~6 inches would be better) bigger than last years to allow for the new root growth.

It IS ok to plant balled-and-burlapped shrubs/trees until slightly later because they have/should've been professionally root-pruned (I think until tomato planting time? Maybe a little later? But I think spring-flowering trees/shrubs would suffer.) and container-grown plants at other times of the year, as long as you can keep them watered (I'd avoid the summer drought season).

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Kisal
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If the soil is not too wet or too frozen to be workable, then the rhodie can be transplanted. The roots cannot take up water from frozen ground, but since the plants are evergreen, they continue to lose water from the leaves during winter. If the ground isn't frozen, and there isn't sufficient rain, then watering during the winter will only help the plant.

Perhaps these articles can express it more clearly than I apparently can:

https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1078.html

https://www.flounder.ca/FraserSouth/basics/requirements.asp

https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1078.html

https://www.rhododendron.org/v48n2p85.htm
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Pineville
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I just have to put in my 2 cents:

If you are not in a hurry, wait until March, or for that matter April or May. If the plants have been in the ground only 8 months, you should be able to transplant with nearly ALL of the roots intact, so you should be good anytime in the spring. The only problem doing it now, is you could still have a hard freeze and heave the plants out of the ground (I'm guessing they are little containerized plants if you got them at a home center). Here in zone 6 all the nurseries wait to line out their fields with bare root plants until late March/early April- much less risk of a hard, prolonged freeze damaging the plants.

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