Lilacs transplanting

(Question)

I would like to give my neighbour in Toronto some of my lilac deep purple plants. What time of the year is best for transplanting the lilac plants?

lilacs

(Answer)

What a beautiful lilac! Your neighbour will no doubt appreciate having some of your lilacs.

The best time to transplant most shrubs is while the plant is somewhat dormant–for Toronto, either in the mid-to-late fall after they have lost their leaves or in the early spring before new growth begins. During the mid-to-late fall period, soil temperatures are warm enough for new roots to form while cooler fall temperatures slow leaf growth. The plant will be able to re-establish its root system without loss of moisture through its leaves.

There are several things to keep in mind when transplanting.

  • Water the plant well before digging up–best to do so the day before.
  • Prepare the area where the transplant will be planted–dig a hole a foot or so wider than the root ball of the transplant; water the soil before placing the transplant into the new hole.
  • Mix in some leafmold or compost with the soil that has been removed from the hole–it will be used for backfill.
  • When digging up the transplant, try to retain as much of the root as possible.
  • Place the plant into the hole making sure that the roots are spread out and that the plant is set at the same level as it was–do not replant too deeply.
  • Backfill with the prepared soil. Make sure that the soil is firmly around the transplant–tamp down with your feet to eliminate any air-pockets.
  • Water thoroughly. Do not let the soil dry out; be careful not to overwater.
  • Use an organic mulch around the plant to conserve moisture. Make sure it doesn’t touch the base of the plant.

Keep in mind that the lilac may not bloom for a couple years.

Good luck with the transplants.