Successful Fall Transplanting
In many parts of the country, trees and trees can be transplanted all year round, but it does not matter where you live, autumn is the best time. The fresh air and warm soil temperatures are the perfect combination for the establishment. The cooler air is good for plants and especially for those that have just lost much of their roots after being dug up. In addition, the soil temperatures are still warm, creating an excellent environment for the production of new roots.
Another advantage of transplanting in the fall is that most plants and trees enter a dormant period. Rather than continuing to transfer energy into new foliage and aerial growth, plants are now transferring energy into their roots and storing nutrients and resources for the cool months to come.
In the spring, the result should be a well-established root system and a plant that can handle the upcoming demands of summer. Here are some additional tips to ensure the success of all your autumn transplants.
When transplanting, always dig a ten-dollar hole for a one-dollar plant. It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it. Makes the planting hole two to three times larger than the current root ball, but does not make the hole deeper than the plant was growing in its previous environment.
Unlike traditional planting methods, the recent research-based data indicates that you should not modify the hole with additional organic matter. The roots of plants growing in modified soil rarely venture into the harder native soil. The roots spoil, so to speak, and tend to remain only in the modified area. The long-term effect is a smaller root system, reduced growth and a less hardy plant.
Instead, it is enough to break the existing soil, remove the rocks and cover. Studies show that the roots of plants that simply grow in natural soil are more successful in spreading beyond the original hole.
Place the transplants in their new environment at or slightly above the surrounding ground level. Newly disturbed soil tends to settle, and plants growing under the ground can easily succumb to rotting or root ailment. It is better to plant a tree or shrub slightly in height and let the area escape rather than a plant sit in a bowl and collect excess water.
Then lightly tamp or hand-tamp the soil around the roots of the plant to ensure good contact between the soil and the roots. A critical step at this stage is to water well. Not only does it provide the necessary moisture, but the water helps to remove air pockets that could otherwise lead to dead or worse roots.
The final step is to mulch with 3 to 4 inches of organic matter such as shredded leaves, crushed bark or straw. Mulch helps retain moisture and keeps the soil temperature moderate. Winter conditions can be very dry, so water all winter if the soil conditions become dry. The roots are still growing and the soil moisture is essential for proper implantation.
The autumn season is inspiring and the perfect time to move the plants that you have thought of moving over the summer. It’s easier for you and the plants and you will be rewarded for your efforts next spring and beyond. The time has come, so what are you waiting for?