February 26, 2012

Take Advantage of an Early Spring

Great Time To Transplant

A few weeks ago, the hellebores were blooming vigorously. About two weeks ago, witch hazel came into bloom. Daffodils are starting to show color, but the ultimate herald of spring arrived this week, new outdoor plant material at the big box stores. I have been crying “spring, spring” for weeks now and it appeared no one was listening. Much in the same way that we know it’s Christmas (now before thanksgiving even gets here) because the big stores say so, with the arrival of freshly dug shrubs, we know it is now time for spring-even though its barely March.

All commercial cynicism aside, shrubs and trees can only be dug and burlapped for resale when the soil temperature is right. Normally we don’t see the arrival of these materials until mid to late March and sometimes later depending on whether we are having a particularly needy winter that just won’t let go like some of my children when I first took them to school. This means that if you have any transplanting you have been meaning to do, now might be a great time to hit it! Make sure when transplanting material that you dig out a sizeable root ball, at least 2/3 of the width of the plant. Professionals do this by digging a trench around the plant and once they reach an adequate depth (about 2/3 the width of your trench) they start to dig out under the ball. If you encounter large roots in the process form the plant you are transplanting or other plants and you have to cut them, try to cut them as cleanly as possible. When transplanting at this time of year, the tree shrub or perennial will enter a period of root growth right after you transplant it. Encourage root development and feeding to help with the shock of transplanting by using Bio Pack from Plant Health Care or a similar product high in nutrients and microbial activity which help roots absorb nutrients.

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