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Moving mature plants

Kia-MenaKia-Mena Posts: 16

My father has builders arriving on Tuesday to start work on the foundations for his new conservatory and I want to try to save as many of his border plants as possible. Any advice would be welcomed especially relating to the large hydrangea which has been in situ for as long as I can remember imageimage


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    In theory, you'd wait till it's dormant for the best chance of success, but that's not always possible.

    The advice is still the same - give it a thorough soaking, prepare the new hole where you're moving it to, and then dig it out with as big a rootball as possible. Once it's in the ground, water it thoroughly and then keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't dry out. For a big shrub like that, I'd take the flowers off and prune it back a bit. I know that seems a shame, but transplanting can shock mature shrubs, and removing some of the top growth helps to relieve the stress on it and gives it a better chance of recovery.

    The heucheras will be easy to move - they're very forgiving anyway, but keep them well enough watered till established. The rhodie/azalea next to the hydrangea will also be fine - again, water well before moving and make sure it doesn't dry out till established. It looks a little chlorotic so it may need a feed to green it up a bit. You can attend to that later though image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,155

    You can move perennials if you lift up all the earth and roots around them and water well. A poster here, Verdun, has had success with it, so did my daughter when she moved house.

    I don't know about the hydrangea, but if it's a question of it will die anyway because of the builders then it's worth giving it a go, taking as much root as you can. They dig up mature plants, even trees, for the Chelsea Flower Show.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Kia-MenaKia-Mena Posts: 16

    Thank you all for the really helpful advice. I have taken up the heucheras, the rhododendron and a couple of grasses and will keep them in pots until the building work is finished. My plan after that is to landscape the garden (or at least attempt to) and re-locate the plants then. I am going to be brave and cut the hydrangea right back, dig it up and keep my fingers crossed that it survives. At least it will give it a chance as otherwise it will be lost during the work ?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    You've nothing to lose - so it's always worth doing. image

    I've moved plants at all sorts of 'wrong' times and never lost one. Taking time to prepare the new hole and then plenty of aftercare is a must. I know it seems brutal to cut it back, but it will struggle otherwise. Make sure to put it somewhere out of the sun and that will also help it's recovery.

    Good luck! 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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