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Arborvitaes: When and How to Transplant

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Talking garden talk with Tom in Illinois. How can we help you with your project?

    TOM IN ILLINOIS: I’ve got some arborvitaes that are – I guess there’s about 12 or 15 of them I planted about, I don’t know, eight months ago.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: OK.

    TOM IN ILLINOIS: And I’m just wondering what the correct height is when you transplant these things. Because you know you pop them out of the bucket and then you dig the hole. And some people say to bury it like flush or below and then there’s other guys that say, “No, no. You’ve got to keep it like a little bit above ground and you’ve got to break the root ball.” So I’m just kind of wondering. Do you break the root ball and do you – you know, do you plant them a little bit above ground or do you sink them all the way?

    TOM: A couple of things, Tom. When I plant those I don’t break up the root ball. What I do is make sure that when I dig the hole I dig it about twice as wide and deep as I need it …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … so that you have lots of loose soil around it.


    TOM: And then, typically, I’ll try to bring it up just a bit above grade so you have a bit of a slope away from the – from the plant itself. But it will sort of still stay in that area that’s dug out. Do you follow me? So you kind of have like a little bit of a moat around it. That will keep the water focused in that root ball and give it plenty of water to start growing again.

    LESLIE: And I know, Tom, that – both Toms, actually (chuckling) – when we moved into our home we had arborvitaes planted along the entire sideline between our house and the neighbor’s property. And they grow incredibly fast but we had the nursery, because they would insure the plants if they installed them themselves, they did keep it, I would say, about three inches above ground.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: So it did, like Tom said, slope away.

    TOM IN ILLINOIS: OK, great. And do they require a lot of water?

    TOM: When you first plant them, absolutely.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Make sure you keep them plenty watered. And you know, when are thinking about doing this, Tom?

    TOM IN ILLINOIS: Oh, I’ve already planted them. But the problem was a couple – you know, there were a few that didn’t make it and I was just kind of …

    TOM: Oh, OK. So you want to replace them.

    TOM IN ILLINOIS: I couldn’t kind of figure out why they died.

    TOM: Yeah, well …

    LESLIE: You know, it could also be a lack of sun situation. Because we had three on our lawn that didn’t make it only because they were completely overshadowed by a pine. We replaced them once; same thing. Decided not to put them there. Did something else. But it could be they’re just not getting enough sun. But they’re awesome and they will be like 15 feet tall before you know it.


    TOM: Tom, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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