Saturday, August 15, 2009

Southern February Landscapes Transplanting Rules

By Keith Markensen

This is the traditional month of hearts and flowers, and even with a willing heart most of the flowers must still come from the florist. This is the last month of cold weather, though, and with warm days there are many garden activities that can be done.

All through this area gardens are in different stages of development from the first spring days of swelling buds to complete dormancy in the extreme northern parts. Evergreen plants should be moved balled and burlapped (B&B).

This kind of transplanting has to do with digging the plant with an undisturbed ball of earth around the roots. This ball is held intact with (originally) burlap (today plastic) securely fastened around it so that it will not break. This burlap is left on when the plant is replanted in the new location. It will rot away in a few days. Most of the young roots will grow through the burlap that is left.

Most gardeners are aware of the trend in planting to use container grown stock. These plants are grown pots and other containers. Actually, container-grown stock is a modification of the B&B type, in that the root system of a plant is not disturbed.

However, planting is much simpler as the gardener or landscaper is usually working with smaller plants.

Transplanting Rules

The soil should be thoroughly pulverized and some humus added. Horticultural peat moss cannot be surpassed for mixing in the soil. The addition of one-half peat moss with the soil in each shrub or tree location will be most beneficial for the plants. The grainy peat improves the physical condition of the soil and the spongy quality increases its water holding capacity.

After the peat decays, its value continues in the form of humus. Slow acting plant food can be worked into the soil at transplanting time if kept away from direct contact with the roots.

Watering is particularly important for the successful growth of the plant. Most plants undergo a certain amount of shock after transplanting. Light pruning of the top growth will establish a favorable balance with the roots and prevent an excessive strain on them to support the top as the root system becomes reestablished.

Planning vs Planting

To every gardener the question should not be one of planting or growing garden plants, but rather of planning what to plant. Even planting coleus without planning can become very expensive and impractical. Any garden problem should be studied and solved before work begins.


This is an important job to be completed during February. All heavy pruning, sometimes referred to as remedial, must be done in time for the wound to heal before the flow of sap begins, otherwise there will be bleeding from the wounds.

All branches that have been split or broken should be removed with clean cuts to promote healing. There are usually many branches broken by snow, ice or wind. All cuts larger than one-half inch should be painted to prevent drying out.

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