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Relocating a Rose of Sharon

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:30 am
by debdkt2
I live in Roanoke, VA. I have a Rose of Sharon (not an ordinary one, but one with double blooms) that my mom rooted for me from her tree. It's probably about 3-4 years old, and about 6 ft. tall, I guess. We're having a sunroom and deck added to the back of our house and it is right in the way. I can't lose this mom passed away a year ago and it's "her" tree. Construction will start in a week or 10 days and I need to know how to uproot and relocate this tree without killing it. It is pretty much done blooming although there are a few blooms left. I know there must be a good time and a not so good time to replant these, but I don't have much time to wait. How big should the root ball be? Can it be placed in a large container with potting soil (and still survive) until construction is done in 60 days when I can replant it where I'd really like for it to be? Or does it need to go into it's permanent place now and not into a temporary home?

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I really want to successfully replant this tree and have it live and flourish.

Many thanks!
Debbie Gordon

Re: Relocating a Rose of Sharon

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:36 pm
by lorijones
It is so nice that you have this tree to remember your mom by. The best time to transplant Rose of Sharon is in the late fall after they become dormant. Unfortunately, you don't have this option. The best thing to do is to did as large a root ball as you can handle.
Here are some tips:
  • In general, the size of the root ball should be 12" of root ball for every 1" of trunk diameter. You WILL be cutting through roots but a good rule of "thumb" is to make the root ball large enough so that none of the roots you are cutting through are larger in diameter than your "thumb".
    • If you don't hit any roots, you are digging too far out.
      If you hit roots larger than your thumb, you are too close.
    When you dig, dig down at a very slight angle with a sharp spade and cut all the way around the plant.
    Remove some of the soil to the outside of this cut so you can then cut under the root ball, free it from the soil, and lever it out of the hole. Be careful to leave the root ball intact as you do this.
    A large root ball should be wrapped tightly in burlap to hold it together.
It is a good idea to water the shrub well a day or two before digging it up. That way the roots will be good and turgid and the root ball is less likely to break apart.
It would be best to put it in its permanent place right away if you can. In fact, it is important to dig the new planting hole BEFORE digging the shrub so that the roots are exposed for as short a time as possible - especially when you are transplanting before the shrub goes dormant.
Once replanted, keep the shrub well watered but do not overwater. Water deeply once a week unless you get good soaking rains. Andre recommends 2-3 5-gallon bucketfuls of water once a week for newly planted shrubs.
Your shrub may wilt and lose its leaves due to transplant shock but if you keep it watered through the fall, it should be okay. Adding Espoma Bio-tone Starter Plus to the planting hole in addition to Plant-tone will help prevent transplant shock and promote faster establishment and deeper roots.
Here are some more tips on digging the planting hole and also on digging the shrub: