As I look out of the window of my office this morning, I see a light dusting of snow we received last night. While a pleasant enough scene, it also made me think of my topic for today’s post, “when to move plants“. You see instead of just enjoying the scene I was thinking:
“Hmm, I really should move those purple cone flowers as that spot is really getting too shaded by my neighbor’s trees. Well, if I am going to do that, then I might as well move one of my Dwarf Burning bush in that spot as that would provide a nice splash of red in an area that is mostly yellow and oranges in the fall.”
Luckily the ground is frozen and I can just keep sitting here in my underwear writing this blog instead. Sorry if that visualization gives you nausea or nightmares tonight.
When to move plants – Perennials
Well if I can’t do it now, when should I? The timing to move perennials is pretty easy. Perennials that bloom in the spring – bearded iris, peonies, bleeding heart and others – should be moved in late summer or fall. Late summer and fall bloomers like coneflowers, rudbeckia, asters and sedum should be moved in early spring. Great, the coneflowers are getting moved in early spring. That means April to early May around here.
When to move plants – Trees and shrubs
How about the Burning bush? I know based on experience that anytime besides the peak of summer or right before, should be good.
Maybe you are thinking something similar. But instead of a purple coneflower and a Burning bush, your plants are Daphne and a small Serviceberry. You think, “OK, Jim moved his plants in spring, so I’ll move mine in spring too.” April comes and goes; you didn’t quite get to it as it was really warm and a great chance to work on your golf shot. It’s May and you finally decide now is the time to move your plants to their perfect spot. Guess, what happens in August? They are both dead.
What happened? Well different plants can be moved at different times. Some like junipers or arborvitaes are pretty safe to move anytime, while others like birches, pears, and redbuds have very short windows when they can be dug up and moved. These plants are stressed severely when their roots are chopped off at the wrong time.
When to move plants in your area
So, how do you know when to move plants in your yard? If you are near me in climate Zone 5 (right at the 5a and5b border), you can use the following chart. If you are a bit warmer or cooler, you might want to adjust a bit. Say you are in Lexington, KY which is zone 6b. In this case you would want to move your spring up a month and move your birch tree in March instead of April. This chart is from my own and local nursery’s experiences and you should check with your local Botanic garden or Arboretum for their advice, if you are moving real important trees and shrubs.
For info on How to transplant trees and shrubs click on this link from Clemson University.
By Jim Anderson