When can I dig these up to move them?


Hi. I have a little juniper seedling, a flowering quince and a katsura seedling that I’d like to dig up to move and grow someplace else.
When is the best time to dig them… fall or early spring?
Thanks. – A


Thank you for your question. In general, it is fine to transplant woody plants in early spring (before their buds break dormancy) or in the autumn. If you choose to transplant in the autumn, watch the weather forecast for a period of cooler temperatures. The average first frost in Toronto is around October 13 so you will want to plant before then.

Planting in the autumn provides several benefits:

  • You won’t compact your soil by walking on it when it is saturated with melted snow and spring rain.
  • Your new transplants won’t have to deal with fluctuating periods of hot or dry spring weather.
  • Weeds grow more slowly in the autumn and won’t outcompete your plants for light and nutrients.
  • In our Toronto area, there is usually more rain in the autumn, which means less watering maintenance for you.
  • As the temperature drops in the autumn, plants start storing energy in their roots. Your plants will have enough time to establish new roots and store energy before going dormant in winter.

Here is a link to the Toronto Master Gardeners Guide Planting a Tree for Life. This guide provides great information that can readily apply to your transplants. Wishing you great success.