I have been asked for advice about when and how to transplant a shrub.
As with many gardening tasks, timing is everything.
Small trees and shrubs can be moved once they are dormant in mid fall or in early spring before new growth begins.
When leaves begin to turn colour in fall, it's a sign that the plants are shutting down for the winter and transplanting can be done.
If you want to move a more established tree or shrub and are able to wait awhile, doing some root pruning first will increase your chance of success.
Trace a circle in the soil as wide as you are able to dig.
Divide the circle into four even quadrants.
Take a sharp spade and slice down through the roots on two of the four quadrants that are opposite each other.
Make note of where you have cut the roots.
Next spring cut down and sever the roots in the last two areas.
Then next fall you will be ready to move the plant.
This method of root pruning forces the plant to develop new fibrous roots within the area you intend to dig.
These roots will nourish the plant until it's time to transplant.
Also, the new roots will make the plant easier to move as a firm rootball will be established.
By doing half the roots at a time, there is less shock to the tree or shrub.
Once you are ready to transplant, make sure the ground is moist before you start to dig; have the new planting hole prepared in advance; have some compost and transplanting food on hand to mix with the existing soil at the new site; and dig the root ball as wide as the foliage extends out.
Plants grown in clay based soil will hold together well when dug.
If you are moving a plant from a site with sandy, loose soil, have burlap on hand.
Dig around the plant with a sharp spade, severing the roots cleanly.
Slide the burlap under the rootball on one side.
Have a helper tip the plant carefully in the opposite direction so you can push the burlap right under the rootball.
Then tip the plant towards you so your helper can pull the burlap through to the other side.
Pull the burlap up tight around the entire rootball so that you can move it without the soil collapsing and tearing the small feeding roots.
Once you have moving the plant to its new home, work some Bonemeal into the bottom of the planting hole and set it into the ground at the same level that it was previously growing.
Back fill one third of the way up the root ball with prepared soil and firm it well.
Loosen the burlap from around the trunk and roll it right down. (There is no need to totally remove the burlap as it will disintegrate over time).
At this point, water thoroughly.
If the crown of the tree you have moved is well established, you may need to stake the tree for two seasons.
Stake on either side of the trunk in line with the strongest winds in your area.
Attach the trunk to the stake with a tree strap, wire or rope run through a piece of garden hose or a length of pantyhose.
Be very careful to prevent whatever you use for tethering from rubbing bark off the trunk.