Transplanting bushes, Zone 5 to 4

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by MBLaWent, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. MBLaWent

    MBLaWent Member

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    Milwaukee, WI; Ishpeming, MI
    I wish to transplant a hardy flowering bush that is currently in a whiskey barrel and three hardy cherry bushes that are rooted in the ground. I am moving from Milwaukee, WI to Ishpeming, MI, which is near Marquette.

    To begin w/, I would like to do the transplanting in spring, so that I have spots picked out and prepared for all the bushes. I would prefer not to have to dig out the bushes as bare roots and then storing them for later transport. I envision ideally digging out on one day, taking the bushes up to their new home on another, and planting them on a third.

    Can I dig them out, cut back the roots and tops as appropriate, relative to ea other, and plant ea bush in a 1-gallon container of soil for transport? I cannot take the whiskey barrel entire, because it weighs a ton.

    As an alternative, I know bushes are often put into burlap for transplanting. Would this work for a 3-day (or 3-day+) time period? Would burlap keep the root hairs from drying out? I am partial to the idea of 1-gallon containers, because I can keep the soil moist. Everything I put into the ground in the Zone 4 yard thrives; it's just a question of keeping everything alive and well until it arrives.--ML
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    MB--I've done exactly what you propose with good results. Actually, the last batch of escallonia were well into the growing season, and still moved well.

    I would lift the plants, allow excess soil to fall off, and place them in appropriate sized containers filling around the roots with a moist but not real soggy medium. I used potting bark because it's pretty impossible to suffocate the roots no matter how much water is added, but if you're careful anything like peat should work. Soil is pretty heavy and is hard to keep from overwatering (drowning roots).

    I also did no pruning, as the new conventional wisdom is that the growing tips help stimulate root regrowth. Just keep the topgrowth as shaded and humid as possible until planted and mist or shade the bushes if possible once planted. Unless they are deciduous and not leafing out yet, then your job is much easier at that time of year!

    I like this temporary container method better than ball and burlap, partly because I never did learn how to tie the burlap around a root ball, and partly because of some recent info that it might be best to remove the burlap and free up the roots in a rootball anyway before planting.

    Good luck with em,
  3. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Maryland USA zone 7
    Hi ML,

    Great advice from Glen. Your plan sounds great, but I'm concerned about putting a shrub that has been growing in a half whiskey barrel into a one gallon container. That's alot of roots to stuff into that small a pot. I'd rather see you wrap the rootball with a large heavy duty trash bag. It's only going to be for 3 days. Here's some helpful sites.

    Good luck in your new home.

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