I have some boxwood bushes that were dug up today and some have bare roots but I cannot plant them till tomorrow. I have them wrapped in plastic bags and keeping them wet; what else should I do?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Maria: I’m afraid this information will not reach you until after you have transplanted your boxwoods, but for future reference here are a couple of tips. There is always a certain amount of stress involved when we move plants from one space in the garden to another. Spring and fall are the best times to transplant, mainly because of the air and soil temperatures. When digging up any plant it is best to remove as much of the root ball as possible so that the roots are protected by the soil while they are out the ground. If we leave roots behind that were attached to the plant this can be very stressful and make it a harder transition for the plant. If you cannot replant them immediately, place them in a nursery container or any container you have on hand. Wrapping the roots in plastic may not be ideal since the plastic can trap the heat and damage the roots, especially if the plastic is black. Place the plants in the shade and keep the roots moist until you can transplant. When digging the new home, make sure that the hole is twice as wide as the existing root ball and just as deep. Treat like any new addition to the garden by keeping it well-watered for the first year. Avoid fertilizing for this first year and let it become established in the environment that naturally exists. After a year has passed, go ahead and give it some food. A thin, even layer of mulch will help keep the moisture in and the weeds down. Mulch should never be more than 2 inches thick, otherwise it becomes a host for insect and potential disease problems. I am sure that your boxwoods will transition just fine since they were only out of the ground for a day.