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Transplanting success in the hot sun
August 17, 2012 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Tell me your suggestions for transplanting plants when the temperature is hot.

We are in the midst of a hot spell in the Seattle area (day time highs around 90/32 F/C). I am about to transplant some 1-gallon pots of Pacific Wax Myrtle into a hedgerow. Do you have suggestions/tips/tricks to help make sure that I'm not just throwing money into the ground by planting when the weather is so dang hot? Thanks!
posted by surfgator to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
 
Place the pots close to the hedgerow for a couple of days first to get them used to the conditions. Water both the pots and the hedgerow area really thoroughly before you transplant the plants. Try to do it in the evening so that the plants aren't exposed to a full day's heat right after being moved. Firm them into the soil well. Water again, paying attention to watering the soil and not the plant. Mulching can help to keep the soil moist and reduces soil temperature fluctuations.
posted by pipeski at 10:40 AM on August 17, 2012


Water the plant in the pot. Dig the hole you're putting the plant into. Fill the hole with water. Plant the plant. As suggested above, make sure to "firm them into the soil well" - the analogy I've used is tucking them into bed - not too soft and not too firm. Water the area. Water the area the following couple of days.
posted by sciencegeek at 10:49 AM on August 17, 2012


When you mulch, make a "well" around the root zone of the plant so that water has time to absorb. Too many people make cone-shaped "mulch volcanoes." You actually want the mulch pulled away from the trunk and higher around the edges to hold the water there until it absorbs.
posted by Ostara at 10:50 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


pipeski is right on. I'll add just a couple of other recommendations.
- if their nursery pots are that thin black plastic, the black is likely to heat up in direct sunlight and can hurt the plant/roots. Wrap the pots in newspaper to add insulation and create a lighter color exterior.
- if late in the evening isn't an option, first thing in the morning is your next best resort. The roots are much more sensitive to temperature than the plant itself is, so planting in the cool of the morning, watering heavily, and mulching (or just spreading a layer of newspaper over the soil surface when you're done) will be fine. Morning or evening and the interior temperatures (plant roots, and the deep hole they're going into) won't be affected by the heat and sun during the transplant process. The thing you want to avoid is digging a hole, having that deep-down formerly cool moist dirt heat up in the noontime sun while you get the plant out of the pot, fussing around with getting the hole big enough while the plant roots get hot and dry, etc.
- water the plant in the pot. Dig a hole. Water the hole and the pile of dirt you just made. Transplant the bush, cover back up with soil. Water the soil some more. It's possible to have too much water over the long haul, but that's not so much true on transplanting day. Water the heck out of it.
posted by aimedwander at 10:51 AM on August 17, 2012


Can you hold off for a few days? The forecast here is for cooler weather soon. (Whew!)
posted by Carol Anne at 11:50 AM on August 17, 2012


Shade for at least a week, maybe two depending on temps. Tie a large rag to four sticks, if you have to. Mulch, and water water water!
posted by BlueHorse at 12:05 PM on August 17, 2012


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