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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:16 am
Location: New Hampshire

Winter transplanting?

We are having a new house built on our property here in New Hampshire and digging for the foundation is due to begin in late February. Unfortunately, there are two 70-year-old lilacs right in the middle of where the foundation is going. I would love to save them if I could, but I realize that the timing is awful. Is there a way to save the whole bush? We think we could have a backhoe dig new holes for them. Or - could we at least take some of the new growth and just say goodbye to the old bushes? If we took new growth, maybe we could put them in buckets and keep them inside until it is a better time to transplant. Do I have any options at all? Thank you for your help.

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Senior Member
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:50 pm
Location: Bucks County, PA

Since you will already have a backhoe on the property, I would recommend having the plant dug out with the machine (large ball) and planted in the new location(if the ground has more than 12" of frost, your backhoe operator will hate you, and may not be of much help). It's probably a Common Lilac, so you'll probably be ok. Check for dead branches in the spring and if you have a lot of dead wood you may have to do some 'rejuvenation' pruning- cutting back to the ground. Common Lilac is a fairly tough plant, and even if a lot of the plant dies, you'll only need a few new shoots coming up in the spring to establish a 'new' plant.

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