Crabapple LandscapExperts know that fall is a great time to move plants that may have overgrown a space or that are not in the right location in their current landscape position.
1. Ideally, about month ahead of Transplanting Day, plan to root prune the shrub by cutting a circle about a foot or 16 inches out from the trunk(s) of the shrub, slicing through the side growing roots with a pointed nursery spade. Do not cut underneath the root ball, but leave the shrub attached to roots growing down into the soil. Water and maintain the shrub in the following weeks, and during this time feeder roots will develop within the circle close to the trunks that will support the shrub in its move.
2. A day or two before Transplanting Day: water heavily around the base of the shrub.
3. A couple of days before Transplanting Day, dig a large, shallow hole in the desired new location, and fill it with water, moistening the soil thoroughly. Keep the soil excavated from the new hole handy.
4. On Transplanting Day re-dig around the circle of roots, lean the tree over to one side and slice through any remaining connecting roots. Carefully pry the root ball out of the soil in one piece. Drag it onto a burlap square or place into a wheelbarrow that is standing by.
5. Replant the shrub in the pre-dug hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is even with (or slightly higher than) the top of the surrounding soil. Fill in with the native soil.
6. Place soil amendments such as compost, Nature’s Helper, Mr. Natural or similar on the soil surface as a mulch, and water-in thoroughly.
7. In the following few months, make sure the root ball never dries out, but is carefully watered until the feeder roots grow at least one inch into the surrounding soil. Crabapple LandscapExperts know the transplant is sure to prosper with a little forethought and care.
For an even more exhaustive dissertation on transplanting shrubs, my friend Bob Polomski from Clemson Extension has written a treatise on transplanting mature trees and shrubs if you would like to check it out.