B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension


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Just Have to Transplant in Summer?

Today's mobile society often lands gardeners in the predicament of moving away from their beloved gardens at a time of year that is less than ideal for transplanting. Devoted gardeners just hate the thought of leaving all of their beautiful flowers behind.

Ideally, the time to move most perennials is either spring or early fall. The hot, generally dry weather of summer is about the worst time of year to move any plant. But, sometimes, you just can't wait for more optimum conditions.

If you must move plants in the summer, realize that you are likely to lose some of the root system, no matter how carefully you dig. Move as large a clump as possible, using burlap, plastic sheeting or trays to keep the root ball intact during the move.

Shade the plants from sun and wind during the move. Replant them as soon as possible to prevent the roots from drying. Try to have the new planting site prepared ahead of time to help decrease the amount of time the plants have to spend out of the ground.

Once in the new location, water plants thoroughly to establish good root to soil contact immediately after planting. If possible, try to time transplanting for an overcast day, or better yet, one where a gentle rain is likely following planting. If only sunshine abounds, aim to move plants late in the day when the hot sun will be heading toward sunset.

You will likely need to pamper newly set transplants with more frequent watering than you would for established plants, at least until they have a chance to produce new roots. Hot, dry, windy weather will often cause the plants to wilt, even if the soil is moist, since the roots are not yet established in the new location. Provide shade, if possible, to protect the plants from the hot, afternoon sun. Apply a two- to four-inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded or chipped bark, to conserve moisture, cool the soil and minimize competition from weeds.


Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox