Pack Your Bags
Left: Pruned lilacs before the move. Right: Lilacs a few years after the move.
years ago, I heard about colonies of ferns thinning in their southern regions;
thriving and spreading on the northern edge of their populations. Planet
warming is happening, and plants are on the move. Of course, it might take too
long for an oak species to jump out of the way of the oncoming stresses. These
plants rely on animals like squirrels to spread their seeds, and it can take
quite a while for an acorn to grow into a mighty oak.
Animals help plants move, and we gardeners move them the most. Herbaceous perennials are usually moved when they are dug in spring, divided and transplanted to new places in the garden. But if you have to (for example, in order to get plants out of the way of a July paving project), you can move them at any time the ground isn’t frozen. In summer, remove some of the top growth to compensate for root loss below ground: about one third to one half. You might consider protection from full sun at the new location, as well. I sometimes use old sheer polyester curtains tied to stakes to reduce the force of breezes and provide shade. In all cases, water, water, water.
Hear about moving seven-foot-tall lilacs in the New Jersey garden --- in August.
Click on the small black arrow at the left on the bar below to start listening, or click on the MP3 link to download the show into Windows Media Player or iTunes: