Human beings are intrinsically linked to nature. We’ve been a hunter/gather species for eons, and as such, our relationship to nature and plants is nothing short of profound. We’ve helped to balance and nurture ecosystems and varying habitats by tending, pruning, building, and moving agricultural gardens for about 12,000 years so it’s no surprise that when it comes time to move house, your garden may be on your mind.
Gardening has been directly linked to overall health benefits in humans as well. Gardening has the distinct ability to reduce stress and combat the negative mental health attributes of both depression, bipolar disorder II, and even dementia.
Greenthumbs, rejoice; gardens can indeed be moved, but more specifically, certain plants and trees can be moved with relative ease. In this post, we’ll discuss how to properly move your garden to a new address by doing as little to disrupt the plant as possible.
Prep a Temporary Nursery
Try to give yourself the time to set up a temporary nursery at your new address, or prep the spots where your cherished trees and/or plants are eventually going to live. This may mean assessing the new site for shade, temperature, and drainage; testing soil conditions, having fertilizer and topsoil readily available, etc. Temporary nurseries should be in shady places like the north side of your house, or strategically located underneath some trees or beside another structure on your property.
Within your nursery, you’ll have to prepare heeling trenches – these are the temporary new holes where your plants will live for the time being. They must be large enough and deep enough – about one and half feet wider than the size of the root system – so that the biggest soil ball possible may be accommodated from the previous location.
Digging Them Up
To dig up your plants, begin by digging about 3 feet from the base if it’s a tree, and by about 10 inches for shrubs and other plants; the idea here is to not agitate the main mass of roots. You’re also looking to ensure that the ball of soil that comes up with the root system is allowed to remain as large as possible. This soil will help to insulate the roots from drying out too quickly while being transported.
Once you’re able to remove the bulk of the root system from the ground, prepare a space where you can lay out a tarp, a large piece of burlap, or another material that can hold in moisture and soil. This protective barrier will help to keep the roots intact, safeguarded, and will keep precious water and soil with the plant itself for transport.
Once you’ve managed to get the plant safely to its new location, time is of the essence. When a plant is uprooted for as little time as possible, it has a better chance of survival. Because you’ve already thought ahead and prepped your heeling trenches and holes, planting your garden in its new home should be quick and relatively painless.
Transplanted plants and trees rarely have the time to acclimatize to a new environment before weather places new dangers in their path. Still, cloudy and mild temperatures are best for a plant after you’ve planted them, so if you’re anticipating a heatwave, rain, or a windstorm, consider covering them for at least ten days and giving them the chance to prepare themselves for their new home.
Kelp-based fertilizers can also assist in giving freshly transplanted plants, trees and shrubs a kickstart in their journey. Most of these products are made with Ascophyllum nodosum a species of kelp found around the globe and is suitable in use for nearly all crops and garden building thanks to natural plant hormones, nutrients, alginic acids and trace minerals.
Summer is never the best time to transplant a garden or plants. Intense heat and relentless sunlight can wreak havoc on a plants. Late fall, or early spring is usually the best time to the majority of plants, shrubs and trees – but sometimes you have no choice due to an unexpected move. Have no fear, it can be done.
Begin by heavily watering the plants and/or garden the day prior to digging them up so they can remain as hydrated as possible while being transported. This will also make your job of digging a lot easier. When it comes time to dig, give your plants another quick soak with water to re-establish hydration, especially if it’s been a hot day. If at all possible, transplant and dig up your plants on an overcast day with little to no sun or wind.