Episode 60 – It’s Plant Moving Time, so get a move on!

Ground Breaking Banter - Rick

It's a common misconception that gardeners get everything right the first time and never have to go back and move something that either doesn't look as good as intended, or perhaps isn't performing as intended. We do it all the time! Fortunately, there's plenty of opportunity to easily transplant most perennials, herbs, and shrubs in mid-late autumn, when the plant is going dormant, as well as in late winter/early spring, when the soil is workable but before new growth has begun. Listen in on your favorite podcast platform or watch the YouTube link above for our tips on transplanting, or, if you just want the single most important lesson of this show, here it is: do your best to prepare the new hole before digging the plant. The less time it spends out of the ground, the better! Here's this show's Lim-A-Rick: A new location would behoove This shrub that I need to move It's out of control twigging Means I will be digging I just hope it will approve. I'll move to a location that suits and shows off its attributes I'll dig, tug, cajole And its feelings console While I try to remember the roots.

Speaking of moving plants, did you know it is indeed possible to transplant roses? Well, we aren’t saying it’s easy, just that it’s possible. There are many reasons you might want to move a rose: sites tend to get shadier over time as trees grow so it may not be performing as well as when you first planted it. As vigorous as landscape roses are, you might find that yours has outgrown its space. Or perhaps you’re just ready for a change. We are featuring Oso Easy Italian Ice rose as this episode’s plant on trial because with its sturdy, stocky, semi-dwarf (1.5-2.5′ tall and wide) frame, it has features that would make it easier to move than another, more unruly rose, and also because, like so many other roses, it’s one that truly gets its second wind in autumn. Its spring/summer bloom is beautiful, don’t get us wrong, but in autumn, it takes on a totally different character, with new, eye-popping tones of yellow and pink that will make you take another look at it. 

Oso Easy Italian Ice rose comes to us from the inimitable Chris Warner, an English rose breeder who is devoted to bringing disease resistance to colorful, appealing roses. Count on thick, glossy foliage and super colorful doubled blooms. Like the rest of the Oso Easy series, it does not need deadheading in order to bloom continuously.

Now, back to transplanting. If you are going to transplant a rose, prepare the new home as closely as possible before digging the plant. Naturally, you’ll need to make some adjustments once you see the size of the rootball, but by minimizing the amount of time the plant spends out of the ground, you’ll do a lot toward preserving the delicate root hairs which play a crucial role in absorbing water and nutrients. To minimize looking like you’ve been in a fight with some sort of jungle cat, it’s a good idea to bundle the rose canes into a ponytail-like shape using a sturdy rope. Make a bend in the rope, bring it around the plant, pull the loose ends through, and pull gently but firmly, then separate the ends, bring one around in the opposite direction, and tie off. Now you’ve got a movable bundle that will help you work at a more appropriate distance to the plant as you dig it. Roses are not typically going to be very deeply rooted, so digging it shouldn’t be too difficult, but do avoid slicing into the main root which will be at the center of the plant. If your rose is ready to be pruned, we recommend moving it before pruning – you’ll find it easier to  move a plant with more body, and pruning after gives you the chance to correct any damage that may occur in the moving process.

If you’d like to add Oso Easy Italian Ice Rose – or any of the 320+ Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs – to your garden or landscape, you’ll find a list of local retailers here

Gardening Mail Bag - Stacey

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but you are correct: these are acorns, and you don’t have chestnuts at all, You have sawtooth oak, Quercus acutissima (“chestnots,” if you will). The foliage looks nearly identical to chestnut, Castanea mollis (C. dentata is our native American chestnut, but these are not common since a blight destroyed them nearly a century ago). So it’s possible there was a mixup at the nursery because of the similarity in foliage. To make things even more confusing, there is a North American native oak that is known as chestnut oak, Quercus montana, that actually looks less like a chestnut than the sawtooth oak. All in all, this is the perfect case for searching by scientific name when shopping for plants. It eliminates all confusion. Hopefully you can take some comfort in knowing you still have some beautiful trees, even if they aren’t what you actually wanted. 

Narrow green foliage with fine teeth on the edges on the branches of sawtooth oak, Quercus acutissima. A developing bright green acorn of the sawtooth oak.

The trick in both of these cases is water – too little will be the undoing of the holly, whereas too much will be the undoing of the lavender. It will be easier to overwinter the lavender – it will definitely be happiest outdoors as Lavandula angustifolia, English lavender, is the hardiest type of lavender. Keep it in a shallow container without excess soil around the roots. Too deep will lead to drainage issues. Keep it in full sun and avoid spots where it might get dripped on by trees, roof, etc. For the holly, the trick will be keeping the soil moist so that it can replace any moisture it loses out its evergreen foliage due to winter sun and winds. This would be one to not place in full sun, but protected from wind and bright light but still exposed to ambient light and good air circulation.

Rose hips are the berries that form at the base of the flower on many rose varieties – in other words, they are the rose’s fruit. Rose hips kind of went off the radar here in North American for many years as hybrid tea roses became the main type that people grew, and they rarely form them, or were deadheaded so consistently that any potential fruit never had the chance to form. However, as disease-resistant landscape roses have replaced hybrid teas as the main rose of choice in our gardens and this type does not require deadheading, rose hips are being seen – and appreciated – more often. We say absolutely, leave the hips. Not only are they colorful (usually a nice bright red or orange), they provide welcome nutrition for birds and other wildlife. Allowing hips to develop and stay on the plant won’t weaken it or impair future blooming, and gives you something much more fun to look at until the birds gobble them up (which is fun to see too!).

Do you have a question for us? We’re happy to help! E-mail us or use the contact tab above. Due to high volume, we may not get to your question, so if you need an answer quickly, please reach out via the Proven Winners website.

Branching News - Rick