How to Transplant Spreading Junipers

Written by sharon sweeny
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How to Transplant Spreading Junipers
Spreading juniper can grow in poor, unimproved soil. (Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images)

Growing 1 to 2 feet high, spreading juniper is one of the most adaptable evergreens. It grows in hostile sites where other evergreens do not grow. Juniper makes an excellent plant for preventing erosion on slopes and banks. Clip the ends of the main branches yearly for the first three years after planting. This causes the plant to branch out and develop a dense growth habit.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sharp garden spade
  • Iron garden or crabgrass rake
  • Garden hose

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  1. 1

    Prune the roots of the juniper to be transplanted about three to four weeks before the transplanting date. Drive a spade into the soil in a ring around the plant, about 18 inches away from its centre. Insert the spade into the ground to its full depth. Overlap a little each time so you don't miss any spots. This severs most of the roots and forces the plant to grow feeder roots closer to its centre, creating a smaller but stronger root ball.

  2. 2

    Pick a new site in full sun with well drained soil that is never wet or saturated and where water drains quickly after a rainstorm. Junipers do well in hot, dry and poor soils where other evergreens struggle.

  3. 3

    Dig a hole 3 to 4 feet wide and about 2 feet deep, reserving the soil removed from the hole.

  4. 4

    Dig up the juniper to be transplanted by driving the spade into the ground in the same ring around the plant as you did in Step 1. Go around a second time, driving the spade in deeper and angling it toward the centre of the plant.

  5. 5

    Insert the spade into the ground near the circumference of the circle, angling it directly under the base of the juniper. Push down the handle of the spade until the plant pops out of the ground.

  6. 6

    Pick up the root ball, which may require assistance from a helper, and set it into the prepared hole at the new site. Orient it in the same direction as it was previously growing. The side of the plant that was facing south in the old location should face south in the new location.

  7. 7

    Add the reserved soil back into the hole, firming it down with your foot as you go. Brace the main stem of the juniper with your hand as you backfill, so it will grow straight and not lean to one side or the other.

  8. 8

    Use the back of an iron garden rake to push the soil at the perimeter of the planting hole into a ridge. This catches and holds water, ensuring it reaches the roots and doesn't run off.

  9. 9

    Place a hose running with a slow trickle of water inside the ridge of soil near the centre of the plant. Allow it to water in the transplant for 60 to 90 minutes. Provide the transplant with supplemental irrigation when natural rainfall is scarce for its first year of life in its new location. This ensures it develops a new, strong root system.

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