Hedge plants

Roots damaged during transplanting - how to do it correctly


When moving plants, the fine roots can be damaged. However, this can cause considerable damage to the roots. You can find out how to avoid this here.

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If you want to move a plant in the garden to give it a better location or simply to improve the garden image, it can happen that fine roots are accidentally removed when digging out the plant. This has a major disadvantage for the plant itself and, depending on the type of plant, can even lead to damage to the crop, which can seriously endanger its health. But how do you get the very fine roots when transplanting the crop? And why is this so important?

Why are fine roots so important for the plant?

If there is a small or larger plant in the garden, this will not only form a strong root stem over time, but also very fine, quickly fragile roots, which can be separated by the slightest exertion of pull. These are usually used to provide the plant with nutrients and, above all, moisture - but they specialize in the newer shoots and leaves. If they break off or fall away, newer shoots or leaf quantities can no longer be adequately cared for, which means that after transplanting the crop will be under-supplied and will soon no longer appear healthy. The result: various shoots can die and in some cases the crop is even so badly damaged that it no longer recovers properly.

Why are the fine roots damaged when transplanting?

Even if every gardener or plant lover knows that the fine roots of the plant must be preserved as much as possible, they cannot always be saved. In the case of smaller plants, it is easy to dig out and take out the roots to a sufficient extent without damaging them - but here, too, the root unit with lumps of earth is often so heavy that it would hardly be possible to dig it out more extensively. But if you have to dig a larger tree or a somewhat older plant in general, you would have to dig a very large diameter at a distance of several meters from the stem of the plant in order to preserve all roots. This is not only hardly possible due to the high weight of the earth and roots, but also because of the high effort an almost impossible task.

Even if you try to dig out the diameter generously around the plant and lift the root ball out of the ground, many of the small fiber roots will break. This is because the weight of the heavy earth is shifting at this moment and the fine roots can break. Pulling the plant out of the ground too quickly and too quickly causes the fine roots to tear very quickly. So it is very likely, especially with larger plants with widespread roots, and it can almost be expected that the fine and younger roots will break and the plant will suffer damage.

Preserve roots when transplanting

With smaller plants, it is not difficult to preserve the fine roots - if you carefully lift them out in a sufficiently large diameter and partially detach them from the ground in order to then lift the entire root ball out of the ground, everything is usually fine good and the plant can be immediately moved to its new location and planted there. Here, the planting hole should be large enough so that the newly inserted, very fine roots do not break when you use them.

If you have to transplant a larger plant, you should first take a close look at the tree top. Their diameter indicates roughly where the roots could end in the ground - therefore one should consider the crown diameter as the diameter of the root excavation. If you enlarge it slightly, hardly any roots are accidentally damaged. Now it is time to uncover the roots close to the trunk, so carefully dig them out. At best with your hands, a broom or similar things that cannot damage the roots - this is how you work outwards towards the finer roots. If you could easily remove all root lengths from the ground and if they are no longer covered by heavy earth, the probability of the fine roots breaking is kept as low as possible. Now the root ball can be raised and raised from the ground with helping hands. Again, when planting, pay attention to dig a sufficiently large hole and carefully insert the fine roots. If the excavated plant is in the air for a longer period of time, you should at least regularly moisten the fine roots with a spray bottle and water.

Avoid damaging the plant

There are moments when you are certain that you cannot completely prevent the damage to some fine roots - for example, when the plant is simply very well rooted and has grown up. In this case, precautions can be taken to limit damage to the plant.

In this way, the newer shoots are cut back and old shoots and branches are also slightly shortened before digging out the roots - this brings the ratio of the green components to be supplied and the roots of the plant back into balance. The removed shoots no longer need to be cared for, so that the plant can cope better if the corresponding fine roots have been damaged - if they have been preserved, new shoots and leaves quickly emerge on the plant, so that it will soon return to its original look.

Measures to preserve fine rootsWhat you should avoid
Dig out at a sufficient distance from the plant stemChoose too narrow a diameter for the excavation - this will cut through the roots
with larger plants, cut back new shoots before liftingRaise the root ball immediately after excavation without removing the continents
work your way piece by piece, at best from the trunk outwards
Remove heavy soil from roots
Keep roots moist for a longer period outside of the earth, for example with a damp cloth

Admittedly, it is not always easy to get the majority of the fine roots without any problems if a plant is to be transplanted in the garden - but if you know how to help yourself and take a lot of time for the task, it shouldn't be difficult to protect most roots from major and severe damage.