Plants to Move
Master gardener Paul James demonstrates how to safely transplant some trees and shrubs from containers into the landscape.
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After planting young shrubs and trees in containers, ultimately they may need to be transplanted into the ground, and it can be a challenge to do this. Master gardener Paul James demonstrates how to safely transplant some trees and shrubs from containers into the landscape.
Transplanting a willow
This willow (Salix integra 'Hakura Nishiki') needs to be moved because its current home is crumbling.
'Hakura Nishiki' is a beautiful deciduous shrub that has light green foliage mottled with white and sometimes a hint of pink. It grows in USDA Zones 4 to 9 and thrives in wet soils.
This shrub tolerates vigorous pruning. Before transplanting, James heavily prunes back the top growth to about a foot tall in order to make it more manageable. He then wiggles the rootball to loosen it from the sides of the container and lifts it out.
James recommends planting this willow in a spot where it'll receive filtered morning sun and afternoon shade. The common name for 'Hakura Nishiki' is dappled willow. Although the name "dappled" may refer to the coloration of its foliage, it also reminds gardeners that it prefers dappled over direct light.
Transplanting a Japanese maple
This Japanese maple is in need of a new home after having been in a wooden box for about two years. The problem is that the roots have grown out of the box and into the soil below. The challenge here will be to transplant the maple without causing major damage to the roots.
James digs around the roots that are growing into the soil to free up the root ball. He then moves the whole thing--tree, box and all--into a wheelbarrow. Once there, he carefully dismantles the box, being careful to avoid damaging too many roots. Once the tree is freed from its container, he plants it in a spot where it'll receive plenty of shade and space to grow. This variety called 'Viridis' is a green, cascading Japanese maple with dissected leaves.
Once planted, he prunes out the dead wood. "It's easy to distinguish from live wood because live wood is green and dead wood is gray and appears, well, dead," says James.
Conifers in containers
James received several conifers as gifts last fall from a friend who lives in Illinois. He overwintered the plants and doesn't know how well many of these plants will perform in his garden in Oklahoma.
Then place them on the patio. That way he can move them around and experiment with how much sun or shade they need. In time, he'll figure out what each conifer prefers in the way of light exposure and then find permanent homes for them in the ground.
Resolving a shady issue
A huge tree once shading this brick planter fell and transformed a shady spot into a sunny spot. Existing azaleas need to be replaced because they can't tolerate full sun.
In their place, James wants to plant golden junipers because they'll do great in full sun. They grow well in zones 3 to 9 and retain their color throughout winter, which not many golden evergreens do. Because they'll grow to about three feet wide and tall, they're perfect for this brick planter.
James is actually planting two different varieties of junipers here. One is called 'Gold Coast'. The other, 'Paul's Treasure', is an improved variety of 'Gold Coast'. To the untrained eye, these junipers look virtually the same, so unless you're a juniper expert, you'll probably never know the difference.
After planting them three feet apart, James adds a layer of mulch to the bed and waters them.
Moving a tropical container outdoors
James' last task involves moving a prized potted plant outdoors that had spent the winter in the garage. The plant is a Plumeria, a tropical beauty that's ready for some sunshine. After moving the container outdoors, James removes the brown leaves. To get it off to a good start for the growing season, he adds a two-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil surface and waters well. According to James, within about three weeks, the plumeria will begin to leaf out.
This is a textbook for dedicated gardeners looking to expand their scientific knowledge.