It happens to us all sometime - we want
to move a plant - perhaps it's grown too big or it would look
Whatever the reason if we want to keep it, moving it is a problem,
with no guarantee of success.
Plants take in water through their roots - so to simply uproot
a plant could lead to dehydration and the death of the plant.
We need to dig the plant up with as much of the root system intact
as is possible.
To do this we have to use a spade and cut a circle in the soil
a distance out from the plant to be moved. The distance will vary
depending on how long the plants has been in position.
A rule of thumb would be to make your circle the same diameter
as that of the plants branches.
It will be easier to move a younger plant than an established
A young plant's root system won't have grown outwards much from
the original root ball while an established plant's root system
could have grown out several feet and a tree's several yards.
Always move a plant in late Autumn or Winter when the plant is
dormant. During dormancy a plant takes in very little water, if
any, so dehydration is less likely to occur.
A deciduous plant will be dormant once it has dropped its leaves.
An evergreen plant never goes truly dormant and always
has a need for water so the success rate in moving an evergreen
is not as great as it is with deciduous plants.
Anyway, dig your circle round the plant a few weeks before you
intend moving it to give any roots damaged a chance to heal.
Then work your way round your circle pushing your spade under
the plant to cut any roots growing downwards.
Allow a few days for the damaged roots to heat then ease the plant
up out of the ground.
If you meet any resistance then there are still some roots that
need cutting - use your spade.
Lift the plant and move it to it's new position for planting.
For very large plants digging a trench round the plant
would be better as it allows you to dig deeper and keep more of
the root system attached to the plant.
For larger plants you will have to dig your circle further out.
Again for larger plants you may need help to lift it and move