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Transplanting Yourself -- and Your Garden Print E-mail
Written by Megan Brown   

Ann garden sample imagePreparing an upcoming move is a lot of work. Between hiring a mover, packing your whole house, buying and selling a home and getting settled in a new town, you already have plenty to keep you busy.

However, if you're planning on moving your garden or houseplants along with you, you'll need to get an early start on the process.

1. Preparation and Planning: The earlier you start, the easier your plant move will be. For outdoor plants, you'll want to begin several months or even a year before the move. Begin by digging a six-inch wide by 12-inch deep trench around the base of the plant. You'll want to dig around the root ball, which is usually about an 18-inch diameter, but can vary depending on the plant. Dig the trench by slicing cleanly through the roots with a sharp shovel. Fill the trench halfway with compost or shredded leaves, which helps the plant create a high volume of roots in a concentrated area. This built up store of roots will help the plant stay strong for the move and will make up for roots that are lost during the trenching. If roots began to grow into the root ball, slice through them with the shovel. When the time comes to move, you'll have a strong plant that's ready to be dug up and replanted elsewhere.

If you're moving between states or out of the country, you should check on any plant immigration rules to make sure you can bring everything with you.

2.Outdoor Plants: To move your outdoor plants, you'll need to dig up the roots. Ideally, you will have had time to create a strong root ball. In this case, you'll need only to wrap the roots in a damp towel and place in a plastic bag for travel. Poke holes in the bag to give your plants air. You could also move the plants temporarily to a plastic pot for travel. For plants that haven't had as much time to develop a root ball, include plenty of its original soil in a pot, keep it upright and keep it well hydrated.

3. House Plants: For indoor or potted plants, you'll have to protect both the plant and roots, especially for more fragile types. Potted plants can be moved as is, or transferred to a plastic pot. Keep water on hand for the entire journey. When you arrive at your location, let the plants stay in their travel pots before moving them back to their original containers to give them time to recover. Too much re-potting in too short of a time could result in slowed growth or death.

4. Surviving the Moving Van: Most movers will not cover plant damages. You could pack your own plants with boxes, bubble wrap or foam cushioning and keep them with you. However, if you have a lot of plants, you'll have to put some in the van. Moving vans can get very hot. In this case, you'll need to give your plant more water than usual to survive both temperature and travel time. Use a plastic bag to keep water contained to the roots and always double bag bigger plants.

With proper time and planning, you can easily move your indoor and outdoor plants to a new location. Keep an eye on outdoor plants at your new home, as the soil and conditions can be much different and take your plants out of plastic as soon as possible to ensure a continued, healthy life!

Guest poster Megan Brown can be reached via her blog:

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