How to Move Your Garden Without Killing Your Plants

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UPDATE: Check out the How to Move Your Garden infographic below!

It’s true, just because you’re moving doesn’t mean you have to say farewell to your garden.

There is actually a myriad of reasons you might want to move your garden. Maybe you purchased a new greenhouse and want to transfer your tomatoes and other vegetables inside before fall sets in. Perhaps you just bought a new home and want to relocate your favorite perennials to the current landscape. Or maybe you simply want to place potted plants into the ground instead.

Whatever the reason, you find the need to move your garden from its present location, which is not something you should do without reading about it first. There are a lot of steps to successfully moving a garden, so get your hoes, your wheel barrels and your expandable hoses ready folks, let’s move!

If you are able, choose the season you move.

The worst time to move a garden is in the heat of the summer. Not only is the dryness damaging to the roots, but the sun is especially hot at that time of year and direct light can cause a great deal of damage. More on this from thespruce.com:

Never leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind. It’s tempting to remove all plants from their pots and place them where you want them to go in the garden, but roots will desiccate quickly. Remove each plant just prior to planting.

Provided you aren’t moving into a winter wonderland, any other time is better. Of course, if you have no choice but to move your garden in the heat of summer, there are tips we will include along the way to ensure your garden’s safety.

Mark where everything is going to go first.

Wherever the new location for your garden, be sure to have the spots in which you are going to plant them ready to go ahead of digging out and transplanting. In other words, visually indicate what’s going into them so things don’t get confusing. If you are planting them in bigger pots, make sure the soil is ready to go at the bottom so the transfer will be ready to go. Conversely, if you are planting directly into the ground, make sure your spots are already dug out and big enough before anything is pulled out.

If you are moving in the heat of summer, we suggest dousing these spots with water before transferring the plants. The roots will need the moisture after the shock of being uprooted. 

If you aren’t sure exactly where you want to plant, dig trenches and create a temporary nursery for your plants!

Pot, bucket or burlap: get the transportation ready.

If you are moving your garden from one pot to another or if you are moving your potted plants into the ground, skip this step. But if you are moving your garden from one home to another, then you’ll need receptacles that can be also be moved. If basic pots or buckets aren’t available, wrap the root ball in burlap for transporting. The shock of moving is enough to kill a good deal of plants, so it’s important to make sure the transport goes as smoothly as possible.

Use a special watering schedule for soon to be in-transit plants.

It’s important during transportation that you water your plants correctly. Not to mention that watered plants are also easier to remove with the root intact.

First, you should water your garden the night before you plan on moving it so that the plants are well hydrated for the move. This helps them sustain what’s called “the jolt of transit”. 

Secondly, don’t go easy on the roots; Soak them well! If by chance you have plants with bare roots (or “naked roots”), the bottoms of these plants need to be submerged in water for two to three hours before being replanted. Here are just a few common bare-root plants to look out for:

  • Shrubs
  • Hosta
  • Daylilies
  • Roses
  • Fruit trees
  • Prarie Onion

Trim excess stems.

It’s suggested you cut off any stems or foliage that are dying or in excess. Doing this will diminish the trauma your plant might experience. However, this isn’t universally necessary for all plants, so use your best judgment!

Dig up using the drip line.

Now it’s time to dig up those plants. But you won’t want to dig into the base of the plant. Doing so risks chopping up a healthy root! Instead, take a hand shovel and dig a ring around the main stem of your plant, carefully paying attention to where the roots are positioned. This is the drip line, otherwise known as the area your plant drips onto the ground, and it’s a great method for digging up plants.

For larger plants, the ring you dig around the plant should be at least 6 inches deep. When you start digging around any size plant you will find that you will likely cut some roots on the way. This is okay, but make sure they are clean cuts, not torn.

Once the ring is dug, use a larger shovel (or several, for larger plants) to pop them out of place. Don’t shake or remove any soil from the root ball, since this will serve as protection. Put your plants into their transportation vehicles to get them ready for their final destinations!

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Re-plant (the right way).

You want to plant your garden in its new location as soon as possible. We would suggest doing it right after you are done uprooting them. If that isn’t possible, then quickly get them into their temporary, transitional home. Just remember, the longer the plant is out, the harder it will be to set.

Before placing your newly removed plants to their new home, you should water the holes and trenches you’ve created. Once you placed water again, gently top the roots off with some soil. Protip: Make sure the soil is solid, but not so dense it smothers the plant.

Reduce stress on the plants.

Once you have your plant in its place, give it a little shower to cool off the leaves. Provide some shade for plants planted in direct sunlight for at least a couple days. You might need to water these plants every day until they grow strong again. If you can do this gentle process in the cooler parts of the day, your plants will thank you for it. Also, if you see anything drooping, water it right away!

Check out our infographic for how to move your garden without killing your plants!


Tim Moore is the lead editor of Backyard Boss and is a lifelong backyard enthusiast. He grew up immersed in the outdoors, camping every weekend and tending to the backyard with his family. Follow Tim and Backyard Boss on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for everyday inspiration for your backyard.

6 Reasons Why Planning Your Summer Move in the Winter Saves You Money

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My wife thought I was nuts. It was only the end of February, but I was already hauling in piles of used boxes so I could start planning my move. “We’re not moving until the end of June!” she cried, visions in her head of sleeping on the floor between stacks of cardboard boxes, I guess.

I told her I knew what I was doing and disappeared into the basement. And in fact, I did.

There are plenty of understandable reasons not to start planning your move four months ahead of time. But those reasons don’t seem so smart when you suddenly realize you’re moving in three days. 

If you’re looking to move sometime between Memorial Day and Labor Day (along with about 20 million other people) you have even more reason to get a jump-start on things. These are the most practical reasons why.

You can use extra time to do much-needed homework

There is one major reason people end up with crappy movers – or in some cases end up getting scammed by people posing as movers: They didn’t do their homework before hiring them.

What does “homework” mean?

  • Find and read real reviews on your local moving company
  • Look up a moving company’s Better Business Bureau rating
  • Research if a mover is a legally registered transporter of household goods

Particularly if you are moving in the summer (seriously, literally millions and millions of people move between June and August), you want to give yourself time not only to find the right movers – i.e., movers who will treat you right – but you don’t want to miss out on hiring the movers that would have been perfect for you because somebody beat you to it. If you think hiring movers could be expensive, you should see how much hiring bad movers could end up costing you …

You might love our:

Moving Cost Calculator

If the quote from your movers felt expensive …
Make sure it lines up with the costs reported by other Americans.

And true, you may not know several months in advance exactly what day you’ll be moving. But don’t wait until a week before you’ve written “Moving!” on your calendar to start doing your homework. Get on it!

Plan your sales-rep walk-through before everyone else does

As the summer approaches, moving company sales representatives are just as busy as movers. Sometimes they’re even busier. But having a grasp of what you need ahead of time will prevent from your two-hour move turning into a six-hour one.

Conventional wisdom says you should get at least three in-home estimates if you want an estimate you can be fairly confident in. If you wanted to be absolutely thorough by price and quality, you not only need to find three solid moving companies, you need to find times that work for their three sales reps and for you. The closer you are to move day, the busier you will be. The closer it is to summer the busier they will be.

The good thing is, you don’t have to know when you’re moving to get your estimate.

You do, however, have to know what you will be moving. Of course, you can make some changes down the road if need be. Just be sure to communicate these changes ahead of time, not on move day!

Protip: Your sales rep might notice things you wouldn’t even think about, like the fact that the big office desk you assembled in the spare room isn’t going to fit out the door, or that your massive fish tank will probably need to be crated.

Having the luxury of time to get these unexpected extras taken care of may prove to be a lifesaver.

You’ll create a rapport with your mover

If you want to be efficient, you don’t want a bunch of perplexed strangers showing up on moving day.

While you won’t have much to worry about if you hire movers through HireAHelper (after 70,000 5-star reviews, we can say things like that), getting to know each other before the actual move day creates a good vibe for both parties. More than this, having time to ask questions and bring up concerns helps your movers prepare for the job ahead. 

By the same token, you can expect your movers to be as busy as you are in the lead-up to your move. Say hello, let them know what you need, let them know you appreciate it, and then step back and let them do their thing. 

You might get a better rate

We can’t absolutely guarantee that you’ll end up paying more if you hire your movers in the middle of May rather than the middle of March, but we are dead-certain you won’t save yourself any money by waiting until the last minute to book your movers. Unless of course the only movers left available are sketchy guys with a string of bad reviews. 

If you’re a couple months ahead of the game you’ll likely also get a much better deal on your rental truck. And your chances of nailing down the right size truck for your move also goes way up. (If you do find yourself having trouble scoring a rental truck check the tips we offer in this post.)

Get Help Loading Your U-Haul Truck

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

You’ll avoid those sticky last-minute expenses

As move day approaches you’ll be going absolutely nuts tackling a thousand last-minute tasks, from canceling utilities to meeting with your landlord/realtor, to cleaning your apartment well enough to get your deposit back to getting all that non-perishable food to the soup kitchen. It will be in these final frenzied hours and days that you’ll be glad you got a three-month head start.

You can pace (and pay for) your packing little by little

Even if you book your movers (and your rental truck) early, if you have a decent amount of stuff and you’re moving a fair distance, you’re going to have to shell out a good chunk of change for

That’s simply the nature of the beast.

Protip: But while there may be nothing you can do about how far you have to move, you just might feel extra motivated to lighten your load by getting rid of all the stuff you know you don’t really need. (You might also feel a sudden urge to save some bucks by packing up the entire house yourself. Both are easier when you have a bigger window to work in.)

We do guarantee, by the way, that once you start packing, you’ll realize that you have about three times as much stuff as you thought and it’s going to take you quadruple the time.

Yep, if you’re like me, you’ll likely be so tired that you’ll have no problem sleeping on the floor between those stacks of cardboard boxes. But just to be safe, pack your bed last.

Here’s How You Should Hydrate While Summer Moving (and What Happens If You Don’t)

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Does the thought of a do-it-yourself move make you break out in a cold sweat? If so, good! You’ll want to get used to the feeling.

Especially with the mercury on the rise, you can bet on working up a good sweat hauling all your boxes and furniture out your door and into the summer sun. But don’t run out and stock up on Gatorade just yet!

We need to play doctor first.

Dehydration Happens Fast, and It Erodes Your Work Capacity

You might find yourself getting into a nice groove, moving all your stuff out and onto your truck like a pro. But don’t put off that water break. Here’s why: A loss of just 1% to 2% of body weight (in sweat) begins to compromise cardiovascular, body temperature regulation and muscular function, potentially leading to decreases in aerobic power. Heart rate rises an additional three to five beats per minute for every 1% of body weight loss. Okay, so what does that mean for moving?

This means for a 175-pound person, a loss of just 1.75 pounds – less than a quart of water and sweat – can mean the beginning of the slowdown.

Muscle endurance and maximal aerobic power decrease when 3% to 4% of body weight is lost. Slightly more than 2% loss of body weight can result in as much as a 35% to 48% reduction in physical work capacity.

So for the same 175-pound mover, this 2% loss of body weight translates into a half-gallon of sweat, give or take. Sounds like a lot, but read what  this article on Hammer Nutrition tells us:On average, you lose about one liter (approx. 34 ounces) of fluid per hour of exercise. Extreme heat and humidity can raise that amount to three liters in one hour.” Yikes!

Even still, dehydration of greater than 3% of body weight increases the risk of developing exertional heat illness (heat crampsheat exhaustion, or heat stroke). Heat illness is common in sports and can occur after just one hour of intense exercise in the heat. Moving may not be a sport, but obviously it doesn’t take long to lose that weight – and feel the effects – when we’re moving furniture in 90/90 heat and humidity.

So… What’s the Best Way to Stay Hydrated?

Our friends over at competitor.com offer some input on the subject.

“Most sports drinks on the market are what sports scientists call isotonic, which means they contain a carbohydrate solution that is at 6-8% concentration. These drinks are in the middle of the spectrum in terms of absorption rate, with water being the most readily absorbed (hypotonic) and something like fruit juice, being greater than 8% sugar concentration (hypertonic) and therefore the least absorbable. Because the sugar concentration of most sports drinks is higher than that of most body fluids, they are not readily absorbed into the blood stream and are thus not optimal for the purpose of hydration.”

Michael F. Bergeron, Ph.D., FACSM also offers some hydration advice here for long workouts, which easily can be extrapolated to a typical summer day moving job. “Grab a beverage that has up to 500 mg sodium per 16 oz, and around 6 percent carbs (less than 28 g per 16 oz). Any more and your body will pull water from your blood to your gut for digestion.”

Both sources tout the idea of keeping carb intake down. Too much and the body has to work to digest them which then slows us down. No wonder it’s so hard getting back on track after wolfing down that lunchtime pizza!

Considering the high sugar content of soda (not surprising) and fruit juice (maybe surprising), we need to keep looking for that source of peak hydration (though diluted fruit juice is a recommended option by some, as we will see).

So what should you drink?

Caffeine Is a Diuretic, But…

This article from our friends Down Under suggests coffee doesn’t drain your system as much as some people think.

“If you drink coffee regularly and don’t drink too much it shouldn’t dehydrate you,” reads the claim.

“If”. “Too much”. “Shouldn’t”. There’s a lot of uncertainty in that statement. Regardless, the amount of liquid we need to gulp down during our summer move puts coffee right out of the equation. If you need that morning joe, go for it. But replacing that hourly liter or two of sweat-loss with Starbucks probably isn’t the way to go.

Coconut Water: Nature’s Gatorade?

The benefits of coconut water have been slathered all over the Internet. This article tries to destroy the hype (“The minerals found in coconut water…are widely found in other foods.”) But if we’re talking about staying properly hydrated, we see that coconut water has more sodium and less sugar than fruit juice, making it the better option.

As for a comparison to sports drinks? This WebMD article tells us coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium and more potassium than a sports drink. Prevention Magazine gives us a quick head-to-head comparison of the two, with coconut water winning handily.

Forbes, however, gives a more complete assessment:

“Although coconut water is rich in potassium, it is low in carbohydrates and sodium… When you exercise three hours or longer in the heat or adverse conditions, your body requires higher levels of simple carbohydrates and electrolytes not adequately found in coconut water. If you sweat a lot, neither coconut water nor typical sports drinks will have enough sodium, potassium or sugar to keep you from falling behind the curve. Having a sports bar, salty pretzels, a banana, raisins or some yogurt will likely give you the added electrolytes to refill your body stores.”

Good. I never could get used to the taste of that coconut water stuff.

Sports Drinks Vs. Water

Our friends at competitor.com sum up the question of when you should be drinking water versus when you should be drinking sports drinks or an electrolyte beverage. Yes, their focus is on running, but the science and the reasoning apply to us as well:

“Before and during a run, rehydration should be your main priority. When training in warm conditions, rehydration will allow you to maintain fluid balance and stay cool. Accordingly, your best choice before and during your run would be water, a heavily diluted sports beverage, or water with electrolytes. Your best choice after a workout is a drink that contains a good amount of sugars, electrolytes and possibly some protein.”

This makes sense especially in the run-up to lunch. Cutting back on those sports drink carbs by dilluting them leaves room – and energy – for our system to digest our food (okay, our pizza) without sucking our blood and our muscles completely dry. So consider pouring that half liter of Powerade into a jug of water.

Real Stamina: Advice From a Physiologist

Yes, we can carry furniture and haul boxes around all day in the blazing heat, but how does that compare to completing an ironman triathlon? We don’t know, exactly, but we figure it makes sense to listen to an ironwoman who also happens to be an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist with almost two decades working in the field.

In an interview with Outside magazine last year, Dr. Stacy Sims laid her hydrating cards on the table. Her simple and unconventional claim: “Not only are most of the sports nutrition drinks on the market not optimized for best hydration, but many of them are actually impeding athletes’ performances.”

Whoa. We’re being told to can the Gatorade?

Looks that way. Sports drinks she says “…have too high a concentration – osmolality – and they pull water out of the system making you more dehydrated.” Too high a concentration of carbs, much like what our previous sources have been implying. “Sports drinks with a carbohydrate concentration of five percent or more and with fructose or maltodextrin actually lead to dehydration,” she adds.

Her research goes deep, but she boils it down to this:

“Food in the pocket, hydration in the bottle.”

In other words, drink plenty of water. If you must suck down that juice or those sports drinks, dilute them. And EAT. Food is where we get the minerals and energy we need.

Sounds pretty simple to me.

Yet however you decide to do it, be sure to keep yourself hydrated and your cooling system running when you’re tackling your move. The alternative can be unpleasant, if not devastating.

If you’re doing your move on your own, Good luck! You might need all the help you can get.

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