Transplanting An Existing Plant

Is The Plant Worth Transplanting?

I should write a series of articles on this question because to answer it thoroughly I need to show you all the considerations when looking at transplanting.  For this short article, here are two that top the list:

  • Percent chance of success: Generally speaking, certain plants make better candidates for transplanting than others. In addition, one must consider all the surrounding conditions that the plant had been growing in.
  • Cost to value ratio: When you know the real costs of the transplanting process (including replanting), compare that to an appraised value of the plant.  At the very least visit a nursery and get an estimate for purchasing and installing a similar plant.

These two considerations should help you make an informed and practical decision.  I should mention too that sometimes plants have sentimental value and that can certainly weigh-in to your decision.

Illustrated in the photos is the art of “drum-lacing”.  This process is more often done completely by hand, however occasionally a machine might help dig the trench surrounding the root ball.  As you might suspect this method is a labor intensive process. I would estimate the cost to move this plant at approximately $300.  Now this would be totally justified because:

  • The plant, ‘Montgomery’ Blue Spruce, typically transplants quite well. We know from the homeowner it was a smaller, nursery-grown plant installed about 5 years ago on this property.  These points give us confidence for a successful transplant.
  • The appraised value of the plant is at least $400 (probably more) and with installation would be over $700.  The value of this plant easily exceeds the transplanting cost.

The decision to transplant is not always this obvious and sometimes requires more analysis and contemplation.

Is transplanting a part of your business? If so, does it happen on most of your jobs? Let us know in the comments.

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