Best timing to move this and that?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAAugust 19, 2014

I am usually not thinking of making fall changes this early, but the weather is really comfortable and the nights are cool. I need to move perennials, like an aster that won't bloom for another month and needs to be divided and baptisia -- butterfly bushes still blooming their heads off -- and roses.

Normally, I'd never move a butterfly bush except in spring, but -- 2 springs in a row I have't been able to.

Roses - just planted two in the spring, one needs moving.

Baptisia - hate to wait because they're so hard to dig out when they get established. Next spring will be 3rd year.

Any thoughts?

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arlene_82 (zone 6 OH)

I moved a young (initially planted from a gallon pot last Sept.) butterfly bush about 3 weeks ago, just as it was budding out. It wilted for about a week, gave it plenty of supplemental water, and it seems to have bounced back. The forecast here has been pretty good for trans/planting - highs only in the 60s and 70s (except today we hit 85) and cooler nights. Still 6 weeks away from frost at least. If you are seeing similar weather-wise, you may be good to go.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:41PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would not move and divide something that is already budding for fall bloom ...

move the aster if you want... but dont expect much ...

i also wouldnt move anything in current bloom ... UNLESS I DID NOT CARE IF IT STOPPED FLOWERING ...

you do.. what you have to do.. whenever ...

but its really all about your expectation of what will happen after ...

they wont die... but they probably will stop flowering... and they might get really ugly ...

but again.. you do.. what you gotta do.. when you gotta ...

besides.. if they have no sense of humor about it.. let them die ...

lower you expectations.. and you will.. most likely.. be pleasantly surprised ... expect perfection.. you will be let down ...


    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:03PM
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I moved balloon flowers today despite their taproots--just made sure I gave them a few gallons of water at the base to help them settle in to their new homes. Haven't moved my butterfly bushes but wouldn't hesitate to do so if the need arose. I've never heard that they resent being disturbed altho' I don't suppose I'd be thinking of moving them while they're blooming, which all of mine are at present.

My baptisia are too large to be moved; I planted them 4 years ago to where I knew they'd do well & they've grown too huge for me to even consider moving them.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Don't move the aster if its about to bloom.

I divided and moved all of my irises, which is fine because you're supposed to do that 6-8 weeks after its bloom period.

Summer here has been very cool, almost fall like, so I made the fatal decision to move a new rose bush that I had planted in the spring. Big mistake and I knew better; it's gone into transplant shock and I don't know if it will survive. So don't be like me and have some patience!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:14PM
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moistbutwelldrained(7b - North Carolina)

You can move almost any herbaceous perennial any time of year... if you water regularly after the transplant. The exception would be if you are moving small divisions late in the fall or in winter. For those you should wait for warmer weather. In very hot weather it's good to provide some temporary shade until the plant is established.

That said, a good rule of thumb is to do your divisions in the season when the plant is NOT blooming. That generally ensures a stronger root stock.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:00PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Arlene, glad to know IâÂÂm not the only one, thinking of doing this. :-)

Ken, the Aster has to be about 4ft across and has been there for years, so I would have large multiple divisions. It just happens to be right where I need to move something else into that position. Yes, if I moved it I realize IâÂÂd lose the bloom.

The butterfly bush, ditto, losing blooms. My concern with the butterfly bush, is not that I canâÂÂt move it successfully, but if that will effect itâÂÂs ability to survive next winter.

And yesâ¦.they should have a sense of humor about it, Ken -- lol

Gardenweed, I have a Baptisia that was in place for years and tried digging that out. ItâÂÂs still there. [g] So I know I should move it while it is still small. Yours must look great!

Clax66 - thank you, youâÂÂve convince me not to move the rose! They are doing so well and they are small so easily moved next spring and I really would be very sad if they didnâÂÂt make it over the winter.

MBWD -- I normally do use milk crates to shade a transplant for a week or so and normally move at more sensible times. Thanks for the reminder.

My bed has needed correction for a few years and I normally have a nice fall display, but IâÂÂm willing to disturb that to make sure the bed starts off on the right foot next year. Not concerned with how it looks now or whether they will transplant successfully, only whether these particular plants will have a difficult time surviving winter because of moving them now. 

Thanks, that helped. :\-) 
    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:05AM
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arlene_82 (zone 6 OH)

I really put my butterfly bush in the worst spot last fall both in terms of space and sun. Not sure what I was thinking, but I just couldn't stand to look at it there any longer which is why I moved it at probably the worst possible time. I thought about cutting off the buds to help it re-establish, but couldn't bring myself to. It did bloom, but they were very short-lived flowers. Anyway, I'm not concerned about it surviving the winter at this point (those things are tough). If things stay cool and wet from here on out I see no reason to wait until fall to move things around (your rose being the possible exception).

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:48AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Fingers crossed for you with your butterfly bush. :-)

I find myself ending up sometimes adding something wherever I can when I run out of time, knowing I am going to have to move them.

I was also on the fence about where I was planting tomatoes this year. My only full sun is in the front where everything else that needs full sun has to go. So do I want roses and butterfly bushes or tomatoes? [g]

This year I put in one tomato out front and it outproduced those grown in the back that were in 6-7hrs of sun by enough that I finally decided I need to put more tomato plants out there next year. And since no one has bothered the tomatoes out front this year, I may as well try a few more. So everything has to move around again. :-)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:55AM
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