Transplant Shock: 10 Ways To Minimize Transplanting Shock

The fun of growing vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees from seeds and cuttings is so rewarding. But, transplant shock loss can take all the fun out when plants don’t show the same vigor.

Plants are designed to stay in one place. They put down roots, deep or wide, and remain there until they die. It is us who move them around.

When plants move from one place to another, it’s a shock. It’s difficult for them to adjust to the new environment. Sometimes plants die as a result of the move and you can call it death from transplant shock.

transplant shock

Transplant shock is caused by harm to the plant roots, during the transplanting process. Shock happens to seedlings, bedding plants, trees and yes even cannabis plants.

While the thickest roots are closest to the root ball, the most important roots… those necessary for the plant to survive and thrive, are farthest from the plant.

These minor roots are like thin, tiny hairs which absorb the majority of the water spread throughout the soil away from the plant.

Many new gardeners do not consider minimizing this risk in transplanting, since they’ve never experienced the loss brought by transplant shock.

They see transplanting as a simple task of moving the plant’s location. Some plants cope well with the new environment, while others may completely die.

Minimize plant or tree transplant shock by taking preventative measures.

10 Ways To Minimize Transplant Shock

Buy Healthy Plants

When buying a new plant, choose the best and healthiest ones. Do not buy any plant that looks like it is suffering from pests, fungi, or other issues. This increases the chances of having a successful process as healthy plants are more likely to survive a transplant shock.

When you buy a struggling plant and transplant it, you only add stress to an already stressed plant.

Know When To Transplant

The beginning of spring or the end of fall are the safest times to transplant using almost any technique. Do not attempt any plant transplant in summer, especially field grown plants.

Whether from small pots, seedlings in flats, larger containers or a full grown tree and shrub, experts recommend to do it in late afternoon when the sun no longer gives extreme heat and the wind is already calm.

When it comes to transplanting container plants, you can do it any time in between freezing and thawing. Container plants are easier to transplant than trees, seedlings and shrubs especially if you know the soil and other basics of gardening.

NOTE: I always like transplanting potted plants into a well-draining soilless mix.

Try Not To Disturb Roots

When you dig or move the plants, you will probably have to bother the roots a bit. Minimize the impact as much as possible. Try to keep the root ball intact and don’t shake out the soil when moving the plant.

Also, make sure the root ball remains moist. If the root ball becomes totally dry, the roots die and the whole plant dies.

Take As Much Root As Possible

As we mentioned earlier, the tiny roots at the farthest end of the root ball are the most necessary ones to the plant’s health and growth.

The more roots you bring along when you move the trees or pants, the lesser chance of transplant shock to occur and the more likely it will survive.

Plant Properly In The New Location

No matter how careful you are, plants will go through some stress when moved.

The failure to use proper planting technique, adds more stress to the plant! Make sure you choose a location that fits the plant’s needs and the appropriate depth in the ground.

Consider amount of sun, soil drainage and quality. Then plant it using proper planting techniques: appropriately deep in the ground, moving gently, etc.

Water Plants Carefully

Plants need water to survive, so give them plenty of watering immediately after moving. After transplanting, the plant’s root system will need to recover. Watering makes a very important step to increase the defense of your plants or trees against transplant shock.

Water plants and trees immediately and religiously afterwards, considering their watering needs. A cactus, will not need water nearly as often as an almond tree, for example.

If Roots Are Removed, Remove Top Growth

Except with tomato plants. Don’t trim the top growth of the plant if you’re transplanting tomato plant seedlings. However, if a shrub is being moved, normally, I would remove about a 1/3 of the foliage.

Follow correct root pruning steps for plants and trees to transition with higher success rate.

Fertilize With Root Boosters

Once transplanted and properly watered, encourage plant root development with a root booster.

Remove Dead Parts

To help a newly transplanted plant, remove any dead parts like dried leaves, branches, or stems.

Keep An Eye On Transplants

Sometimes newly transplanted material is attacked by pests and insects. A plant in shock doesn’t need the extra stress bugs deliver.

Keep a careful eye on your transplanted plants, be ready to adjust and to help get your plants off to a good start in its new location.

With these ten methods, your plants will be on their way to less transplant shock and keep the “fun” in growing!

Image: source

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