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Fall Gardening Tip:

Habitat is a hard thing to lose. See Gardening Tips  

How to Transplant Shrubs and Save Money

(© PROGRESSIVE FARMER magazine, September 2003, reprinted with permission.)

If you think redoing an older front yard means ripping out all of the existing plants, think again. In many cases, you can bring new life to small trees and shrubs by moving them to different locations or surrounding them with new plantings. How do you decide which plants are worth saving and which aren't?

Assess the health of the plant. If it is diseased, insect-ridden or in decline, or if it contains a lot of dead wood, remove and discard.

Evaluate how a plant looks in its present spot. If it's obviously badly placed and its size allows, move it. If the plant isn't in an ideal location but is a magnificent specimen, think of alternatives to moving it.

Consider the size and age of the plant. The larger and older the plant is, the more extensive its root system. If you cut off too many roots while transplanting, the plant won't survive the move. You probably shouldn't try to transplant a tree that is taller than 6 feet or a shrub that's wider than 3 feet.

Calculate the value of the plant and whether it is worth the trouble to transplant.

If you decide to transplant:

Do so when the plant is dormant.

Get as big a root ball as possible.

Make the new hole at least twice as wide as the root ball.

Plant the tree or shrub at the same depth that it had been previously growing.

Firm the soil around the roots, and water thoroughly

Water the plant regularly during the next year, until it becomes established.

- October, 2003

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