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Transplanting Lilac Bushes

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You're wondering if you can transplant your Lilac bush. You certainly will be happy to know, that Lilac bushes transplant easily. We find that Lilac bushes are among the easiest bushes to successfully transplant.

Young  lilac bushes are the easiest to transplant. Their vigorous, youthful growth, helps them to quickly move into their new surroundings and plant new roots. Can you successfully move a larger Lilac bush? Sure! It just takes a little more muscle power, and more "TLC", from start to finish.

Spring is the best time to transplant Lilacs. They do not transplant well in hot, dry weather. Transplant them after the blooming period, and before hot summer weather arrives.

It is also important to note that transplanting can affect the next spring bloom. Next year, the bush will likely produce fewer blooms, or none at all. In the following year, you should see a normal bloom of Lilacs.


How to Transplant Lilac Bushes:

Here are the basic steps to successfully transplanting lilac bushes:

  1. Select a sunny location.

  2. Lilacs need elevated, well draining soil.  Keep this in mind when you select the new home for your Lilac bush. Build up the soil a few inches, if necessary.

  3. Decide if you are going to trim the bush. This decision can be problematic with Lilacs. We recommend you do not trim a Lilac bush. It is counter to normal transplanting logic, as trimming plants allows the plant to focus on re-growing the root system. But, trimming a lilac bush can result in trimming away next year's blooms.

  4. To remove the plant from its current location, dig deep and wide. The more roots you get, the more successful the transplant, with less transplant shock.

  5. Dig a hole in the new location. Make the hole about twice as big as the root system.

  6. Mix in plenty of compost into the hole.  

  7. Place the roots of the lilac bush into the hole, to a depth level to where it was in its original location.

  8. Fill the hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost.

  9. Tamp down the soil firmly around the bush.

  10. Water thoroughly and deeply. We like to use a light solution of liquid fertilizer or seaweed fertilizer at transplanting time. 

  11. Deeply water regularly to keep the soil moist, not wet, for 3-4 weeks. This will help your roots to re-establish themselves.


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