Monday, March 10, 2008

Moving small bushes, trees


I would like to move two possibly four-year-old butterfly bushes and 2 two-year-old spruces. Is now a good time or have I waited to late? If yes, is there any special preparation, etc?

Peggy C.

Anne's Response:

You can probably get away with moving the butterfly bush right now. It is a drought and heat tolerant plant should be able to withstand the shock of moving if you are able to give it a gallon or so of water a week to get it reestablished. Spruce trees are much less tolerant of the summer heat in the south so it is better to transplant them in the fall. As short a time as the spruce have been in the ground they will have a small rootball and should be fairly easy to move. About four weeks before you plant to move them in the fall use a sharp spade and “stab” it into the ground in a circle where you will want to dig the plant. This severs the roots and allows them to heal and start new roots growth. When you move the plant make sure the top of the rootball 1 inch out of the ground when it goes in the new planting hole. Fill the soil in around the plant and water it in well. Mulch the area over the new planting area but make sure the mulch does not get closer than 6 inches to the trunk of the tree. Make sure the plant gets the equivalent of 1 inch of water per week – either from rain or watering. You will probably need to continue watering the spruce through the following summer.

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