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transplanting heather

Posted by Hanako2 BC.Can. (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 7, 05 at 22:09

Heather grows well here on Vancouver Island, and mine have grown so well that I would like to move them to a location where they can really spread out.

My plan was to just prune them when they needed it, but my tiny starters ended up just a mite too close together.

I have seen transplanted heathers that didn't make it, possibly because they were not pruned before being transplanted. I saw no signs of watering after the move either.

I would prune, then move, then water the new location both before and after the move.

Is there a step or two I'm missing?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: transplanting heather

What you propose sounds reasonable, although other than controlling the size for ease of transplant, there is not much advantage to pruning them before moving. You should be aware that these do not take to transplanting readily - some plants just don't like being moved and heaths and heathers are included in this list - so your success is a bit of a gamble. I might wait until a bit later in the season as well - October is generally a better time in our climate for transplanting established evergreen shrubs.

RE: transplanting heather

Your response is more or less what I thought, which is why I was hoping there might be something I was unaware of. I think I'll wait a bit, as you have advised, and then risk the move by taking it one plant at a time, then watching for transplant rejection. It seems to me I tried it once before, and the result was not a happy one, or it could have been an observation I made about a neighbour's similar attempt.

Thank you,

RE: transplanting heather

I have moved several of my heathers, some of them more than once. I do it only in early to mid-spring, before growth begins and usually after I shear them (see below). I have learned that transplanting will retard the plant's top growth for that year, but not in following years. Be sure to get as much of the root ball as possible, and absolutely keep them well watered after moving them. (Since you have been growing heathers, I assume their horticultural requirements are well met.) I also dose the transplants with a systemic fungicide after transplanting as a precautionary measure.

Shearing and pruning: heathers benefit from having their tops (just below previous year's flowering) lightly sheared in their first three or four years in the ground; this prevents legginess, and plants grow fuller. As far as pruning, only cut out dead or diseased branches that have browned and withered (this sometimes happens, especially here in the NE). This does not set the plants back, and the removed sections will fill in within one to three years, depending on the severity of pruning, without evidence of damage.

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