Friday, August 28, 2009

August Transplanting

There's an old-timer's rule around here that says not to plant or transplant anything in months without an "R" in them-i.e. May, June, July, August. It's just too hot and dry and they can't take the shock I guess.

Given that I just removed the bushes from around the abbreviated deck and the roots were exposed, I really didn't think they it would hurt them to get them into the ground where the roots can at least be protected from the hot air.

So, I went to work on that yesterday morning. This is the method I use for all planting and transplanting, although I have no idea if it's correct. Things that I've planted this way survive, so I guess it must not be all wrong.

First I set the plants in their places then dig an outline of where the hole needs to go. Move the plant and dig the hole the dimensions of the outline. I like to dig an inch or two or 3 deeper than the plant but leave the bottom of the hole full of that much loose dirt.

Then I make what Donnie calls "mud pies" which is basically putting water in the hole then working it around with a shovel so that the water penetrates deeper into the soil. When it's all nice and gooey, fill it to the brim or as close as you can come with water and let it stand a while which allows the dirt along the sides of the hole to absorb water.

Set the plants in the hole with the remaining water and let the root ball soak it up. Leave them for about a half hour or so.

Once the root ball has absorbed a good deal of the water, I fill the hole with water all the way to the top. As the water recedes, I start adding the dirt back into the hole. Once all the dirt is back in and some of the water has absorbed into the soil, you can step on the top of the root ball and squish the roots into the soft mud.
While I haven't studied the science of this, pushing the roots into the mud would serve to eliminate air pockets as well as pushing the mud into the spaces between the roots therefore creating a better bond between the plant and the earth.

It's a theory. What can I say?

So, the bushes that started out lining the front walk made their way to the back yard, some along the fence and some around the deck. When the deck shrunk, all but one bush joined the rest at the back fence-and what a beautiful fence it is! Bless the Powells! They got their fence up and we got to take our "fence" down which is a major improvement to the view on both properties.

South side yard 2006

South side yard 2009
It's slow, but we are making progress

So, Let's recap our progress (and the neighbor's contribution) in the back yard so far....

Summer 2006

Summer 2009

You never would have known there was a good sized yard back there 3 years ago!


  1. Hi, Christie. (It's me, suziemaus) I've just become a "stalker." Don't know what took me so long. Looking forward to following more of your posts, as well as reading some past posts.
    I think your plants will thank you for their new home. It all looks wonderful! Have a nice nice weekend!

  2. Well Suzanne, I thought I posted back to you, but realized it was someone on a different topic! Whoops! Glad to see you! The plants are surviving so far.