Saturday, November 10, 2012

Transfer plants

Q: We are digging out our backyard to put in a patio. There are two plants there - one wisteria and one clematis. Is it possible for us to dig these up and transfer the root system to large pots to keep them where they are, but not in the ground. If yes, what size pots would you recommend?

A: It is possible to transplant older Wisteria and Clematis for moving elsewhere in your yard or into a container like you'd like to do. Timing is important and the ultimate transplanting time would be March. You can still do this in April but try to pick a period when it will be overcast and rainy if possible. This will stress the plant less and it will also then be less likely to sustain transplant shock. If possible always move any plant that has been dug to it's new location as soon as possible. Prepare the hole or container using a combination of fresh earth, compost, manure, and peat moss. This will not only allow new roots to grow quickly and easily into the new soil but plants will perform much better long term when they're growing in a good mix of assorted mediums. When choosing the container, have in the back of your mind, bigger is better. Vines have a massive amount of leaf mass and during hot periods they lose a lot of moisture through transpiration (sweating so to speak) and all that moisture needs to be replaced. If you're container is too small it will dry out quickly causing damage to the vines.

I would suggest a 3 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot deep container to house your vines long term. Maybe building something with treated wood might be best. Immediately after transplanting ensure that you use a high phosphate transplanting fertilizer to feed the vines and assist in developing root growth as well as preventing any transplant shock that can damage or potentially kill your plants. Keep them moist from then on.

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