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Preparing to move small trees

I have a couple of small Viburnums (Guelder rose) at about 7ft that I want to move this winter.  My gardener friend said, treat them like a bare root.

I'm not quite sure what he meant by that.  Do I wait until leaf fall/dormancy and then move, and pull up trim back roots etc, and cut back the canopy?

The leaves are turning red now.

I'm never quite sure when roots grow, and how dormant these plants actually become, in my mind I think perhaps an earlier move may have taken advantage of the late summer sun, and ground warmth.

When is a good time, and what would you do?


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,551
    Autumn after leaf fall is when the plant is dormant up top and not putting stress on the roots.   The soil is warm and damp so teh roots can recover and grow on and settle the plant in time for the burst of energy in spring.

    If you can dig them out with a decent rootball they should be fine but make sure they are well watered first and that their new hole is dig ahead so the roots aren't exposed to cold and drying winds.   Improve their new home with som ewell-rotted garden compost and/or manure and they'll romp away.  You'll need to water well after planting too and maybe provide a stake to hold their trunks in place for the first year so they don't get rocked by winds.

    If you can't get out a decent rootball then you'll have to trim the tops to reduce stress next spring as well as reduce wind resistance while the roots are establishing again.  Some bonemeal in the planting hle and soil will help as will a handful of microrhizal fungae scattered on the roots.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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