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Transplanting Shrubs

February 11, 2019
last modified: February 11, 2019

Just trying to get ahead of the ever growing to-do list.

If the ground is not frozen solid, is it too early to transplant shrubs given the scenario

Shrubs have been sitting in fabric pots for a good 4-5 years of it's span. Went from 3G purchased to 7G Fabric and last 2 years in 15G Fabric pots. Never even heeled in dirt overwinter, Just bundeled together and lotsa leaves thrown ontop. Shrubs are Green Velvet Boxwood. Bearing their surround siting(exposed pot) is already colder than probably the inground dirt, is it okay to transplant them as long as the soil is workable in planting area and the pot medium itself ?

I think the biggest ? would be the pot medium as I do plan to wash out some of the pot medium if it will cooperate

Comments (9)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    always include location .... in your text ... thx ...

    the key is to transplant in dormancy ... as many weeks before the soil warms and active growth starts ... so it sounds like you are good to grow ... lol .. go ...

    the only problem is how do you water in the plants after planting ... you dont want to freeze the roots into an ice cube [ground freeze areas] ... nor have excessive standing water [spring rains scenario] ... e.g. if you had poor draining clay soil ...

    i presume .. again.. location .. that the pot is damp.. and the soil is damp ... so you dont immediately need a lot of water ... until soil and air temps rise significantly .. in other words... when the soil might start drying at depth .. where the roots are ...

    otherwise.. current soil temps.. or air temps ... are not relevant ... with a zone appropriate dormant plant ... imo ...

    i would probably bare roots them to some extent.. so new root growth gets into native soil asap .... but on a large root mass ... i might just make sure the outer few inches are planted in the soil .... how different is your media.. from native soil ????


  • a1an

    Pretty different. The pot medium is probably well aged bark/humus at this point. It was probably primarily bark and coarse vermiculite (new) . I might have mixed recycled/mixed in even more bark from other pots when I up-potted. The drainage is somewhat similar (aka, both potting medium and sited planting drains well)

  • a1an

    I should correct my title as technically I'm not transplanting but planting ?

  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱

    "...is it okay to transplant them as long as the soil is workable.."

    Workable means not too wet. It must break apart easily.


  • a1an

    I'm sure the 1st foot should be workable and tilthy. Bearing the size container the shrubs are in, even thought boxwoods have shallow root system, not sure how large my root plug will be. Depending on how large my root plug is, I am expecting the hole depth I need to dig out will be deeper and I do expect to hit wet/clumpy soil-depending on depth

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    go dig a practice hole.. in advance of the big work day.. and find out whats going on down there ... then you can make informed decisions ....

    there is nothing worse.. than planning a long work day.. only to find out after the first hole.. that you have to wait a week until you have the time to do the big job ...


  • a1an

    Indeed on planting hole test. My experience in this area was complete opposite. Case in point. 15 feet over, soil is very clayish, mucky and wet. I literally was using a hole hawg + 24" auger to help me do so breakup as I incorporated OM into this area

    When I did plantings in this area we speak about (proposed new planting site). The soil was completely 180 degrees of what I was expecting. Here I was, with shovels, auger and my Milwaukee Hole Hawg Drill to help break up the bottom pan, the works. And it turned out, it was nice and tilthy and I did not even need to use my boot heel to shove the shovel in to get the dirt out.

  • a1an

    Its snowing today, then some sleet, then some rain. Between the mild temps, ground will be wet for my planned weekend planting. Eh, we'll see how next week goes. It's been ~dry~ for quite some time, so I had the planting/transplanting on my radar.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Still no location information....

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