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Transplanting A Hydrangea Bush

Question:

I need to transplant a medium/large well established hydrangea bush ASAP. However, I don't know if this is the safest time of year. Should I act now or wait until fall? Any other transplanting tips on this bush would be very helpful. The bush has sentimental value and losing it would be tragic.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Jean from Farmingville, NY

Answer:

Jean,

The best time to move a well-established hydrangeas bush is during winter dormancy-after its leaves have fallen. The most risky time to transplant a hydrangea is in the spring, right about the time its leaves are starting to emerge. If moving it now would be easiest for you, then go ahead and do it. It may take a season or two to reset its clock, but with a little TLC, it should survive the move just fine.

To transplant it, wait for an overcast day (make sure it's not too hot) and dig out as much of a root ball around the hydrangea as possible. More is better, as this minimizes the risk of inflicting irreparable damage to the roots. If the hydrangea is thriving in its current location, try to relocate it to a site that mimics the same conditions in regards light, wind, etc. If necessary, amend the soil at the new site and make sure it allows for plenty of drainage.

Water in the hydrangea well when you transplant it, and be prepared to monitor it closely for the rest of the summer. Never let it fully dry out, but take care not to water too frequently either. Hydrangeas appreciate plenty of water, but they don't like to stand in it. Don't give it any fertilizer for several weeks, or until you start to see new growth.

Here's a great link to step-by-step instructions for propagating hydrangeas. Because this plant is of great sentimental value to you, consider propagation in addition to transplanting the established plant. It's a great way insurance policy just incase you suffer some losses.

Good luck!

Ellen

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

By Katy [3]04/29/2008

Yes, transplant it now if you can! Last year, I transplanted a large, well-established hydrangea in the middle of May, and it did well. (I'm in zone 6) This year it looks like it may bloom! My advice would be to dig up as much of the root ball as possible (as in, don't cut the roots if you can help it), and dig a very wide and deep hole for it in the new spot. Loosen up the dirt well, so that the roots have plenty of "give" as they spread this year. I would suggest that you NOT fertilize at all this year, since that would stimulate more leaf growth than the bruised little roots could handle right now. Just give it several deep soaks a week (as opposed to more frequent, shallow waterings) as the spring and summer progresses, and it should be just fine!

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