I have four spiral evergreens, two out front (full sun) and two in the side yard (full to partial sun). The two out front I have had for two years and aren’t doing well. The two in the side yard are much older and doing well. I would like to transfer front to side yard and side yard to front. I’m not sure on the outcome or how to do this.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Naomi in Idaho: Before you start digging up any of your evergreens it is best to determine why the two planted out front are not thriving. Have you noticed any unusual insect activity or discoloration of the foliage? Is there a drainage issue or have you had your soil tested recently? All these are factors that could lead to unhappy plants, but not knowing what type of evergreens you are growing I cannot give you specifics in terms adequate soil conditions, fertility, or potential insect or disease problems. My guess would be that you are growing Alberta spruce, only because this seems to be the most common evergreen to be pruned into a spiral shape. If this is the case they demand full sun and well-drained soil. The downside to these plants is that they are very prone to spider mites. The best thing to do at this point is to take a sample of the evergreens to the horticulturist at your County Cooperative Extension Office or have a certified arborist come out and take a look. Just moving locations may not take care of the issue and all the effort moving the plants is not going to ensure that they will be happier. Moving established plants such as the ones on the side yard can be a bit tricky. If you do end up moving them it would be best to wait until later this fall when the temperatures cool down. There is always a certain amount of stress involved with transplanting. It is best to have your holes pre-dug before digging up the existing plants and get them back in the ground as soon as possible. You will want to keep as much of the root system intact as you can and be sure to water immediately after planting. Treat these transplants like new plantings in terms of water and fertilization.