Transplanting season

In case you missed it, fall is here. (The autumn tablescapes, fall home tours and Hallowe’en decorations proliferating the blogosphere are a big clue. We bloggers appear to have trouble living in the moment). Anyways, we’re officially into fall. And it’s official transplant season.

Now I have to confess that I got a bit of a head start this year. I transplanted peonies back in August, and a couple of weeks ago Matt and I moved a few trees around.

I generally pay little attention to gardening timelines. With our gardens in the state they’re in, if I wait until the “right” time to move my plants it will take me decades to get things where I want them.

You’ve seen that we have lots of peonies spread all over the property. My mission this year was to move a few of them into the gardens I’ve established.

Bright pink peonies in front of a steel silo and old barn

I don’t profess to being any type of transplanting expert.

My usual technique is to try to keep as much of the soil around the plant intact as possible. Of course, the first peony I dug up was surrounded by weeds, and I had to hack at the roots to get rid of everything non-peony. If you’re curious, here’s what peony roots look like.

Peony tubers

The other thing I’ve learned over the years is to not replant the plants too deep. Transplanting makes it easy because I just keep them at the same level they were.

Transplanting trees

The other component of my not-at-all-scientific transplant process is to water the heck out of them. I remember when I first started gardening I read an article that recommended aiming for “quagmire”-like wetness. So far, September has been pretty rainy, so we have had plenty of help keeping up the quagmire factor, although we have supplemented with hoses and buckets as needed.

Watering transplanted peony

We have a few more trees and bushes yet to move before fall gets too far along. Oh and bulbs to plant. Don’t forget to do those too. The transplanting PSA just never stops.

Are you doing any transplanting this fall? Do you have any transplanting tips?

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10 thoughts on “Transplanting season

  1. Aside from having transplanted ourselves this summer . . . our new place has a pretty-small back yard that doesn’t get a lot of sun. But our old neighbors gave us as a going-away present a potted vinca (periwinkle) with big purple blossoms that loves it here. S. is going to transplant it to a spot that gets afternoon sun and see if it spreads and takes over from the ivy that’s there now. She already transplanted a russian sage plant that was formerly by our sea wall. Her forsythia, which was visited by hummingbirds a while ago, she’ll bring indoors for the winter, cutting it way back in hopes it’ll hunker down and come back next spring. So cool you have peonies, one of our favorites at the NY Botanical Garden. We had one beautiful peony bush at the Coast Guard House – it was pretty-much destroyed during the felling of trees killed by the salt-water blizzard of Hurricane Sandy. Such is life.

  2. I have two rose bushes at my parents house that I planted when I lived there over 15 years ago. My mom keeps mentioning that I need to come dig them up (I am guessing they are in her way! ) So I really need to do that soon.

    And we would really like to plant some fruit trees, just another thing to put on our to-do list!

  3. Skeptic, ha!

    Your transplanting method is very similar to mine, it seems. My mother would have called it a “by guess and by golly” method. But it usually works!

    I’m wondering about the stop sign on the silo. Is there a road there?

  4. My mom transplanted a couple of various plants from my grandpa’s garden to her own yard about 100 miles away this year. She seemed to use a similar method as yours and then sort of hoped for the best. I think it worked out, even though they had to survive a couple hours in the car. The plants were originally planted by my grandma, who passed away, so the plants are extra special to my mom. I can’t remember what kind they are though!

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