move plants in spring or fall?

Lilyfinch z7 mid tnSeptember 7, 2009

I have a rather large garden bed that is doing ok, but i should have added compost and tilled up the clay instead of plopping and hoping for the best. I was mixing in some good soil with the plants but honestly, i wasnt doing them much good. Most havent flourished very much.I can move all the plants now, or wait till spring? Which is best? I have a rose bush with buds still , butterfly bush, monarda, irisis, coreopsis, butterfly weed(with seed pods), salvias and gaura. I appriciate your advice! The area i would move them to is much better soil quality , with a little drainage issue on one side. If i put them in the other bed, i think they may stay there and i can start fresh with the other one once its tilled! Yay! lol

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Nell Jean

There is a vague general rule that says move perennials that bloom in early summer in the fall, move perennials that bloom in fall in the spring. These rules vary from place to place. I can only tell you from experience that moving fall-blooming salvias in late summer instead of spring didn't work out for me.

You might want to get a good book on perennials and mixed beds, and read about individual plants. The best books for any gardener are written by someone who gardens in your climate. Check University extension sites, too, for local gardening information.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 2:28PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

You can move things in the spring or fall. But when moving things in fall you just have to avoid doing it too close to the frost date, or even when temps get very cool. But the plants in your garden are hardened off, and can handle being moved now. The key is to give them enough time before that cold snap to allow them to re-establish a little.

I moved and planted some new things about two weeks ago, and still have a couple of things that might get transplanted soon. There is still plenty of warm temps here. I think you would be doing fine to move your plants now, but you can always wait until spring if you think it safer. Nothing wrong with that!
Have a great day!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 2:50PM
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I would say, move when the plants are dormant so it causes the least root disturbance. Also for established bushes and shrubs, takes a good sized root ball. With plants that you intend to transplant now, water well a few hours before you dig them out. Do not fertilize until next season.

For your rose, I would suggest that you remove the buds - the plant is exerting energy to produce that bloom, so if the plan is to transplant in the fall, you might want to conserve that energy. I've transplanted mine in the fall/

butterfly bush - wait till fully dormant and transplant.

monarda - same.

irisis - even now you can transplant these. Take a pair of scissors and cut the leaves off by half. Also you can create new plants out of one large corm.

coreopsis - I've transplanted mine in the fall. No problem there.

butterfly weed(with seed pods) - I believe they do produce deep roots and so take a good sized root ball when transplanting. I normally prune my plant to about a foot off the ground during spring. So perhaps it's a good time when transplanting to prune the plant.

salvias - even now you can transplant these. I've done this early in the fall.

gaura - I've not had any experience with it but I suppose it's the same as the salvias and the coreopsis.


However if the only problem is because the present bed requires good soil mixing, I would suggest digging holes besides the plants and mixing in good quality compost.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 9:57AM
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