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Saturday - April 18, 2009

From: Argenta, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Vines
Title: Transplanting honeysuckle bush in Illinois
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Want to transplant 3 honeysuckle shrubs 10 to 12' tall this month, although not the best time. Please advise.


We found one plant, Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), that is native to Illinois, but is described as a mound-shaped deciduous shrub to three feet tall. We found two others, Lonicera morrowii and Lonicera mackii that are taller, but are considered invasive. Hope you have unusually tall native bushes and not the non-native invasives.

It really doesn't matter, what you are transplanting are woody plants. This is not such a bad time to transplant in Illinois, because it's still pretty cool there. It's getting a little late for transplanting in Texas, but you should still be fine. 

First, prepare the hole you are going to transplant into. Do not dig up the shrub until you have completed the preparation of the hole; you don't want the roots to dry out. We recommend choosing a good spot and digging a hole bigger than you think you will need.  Mix some compost or other organic material with the native dirt. This will help to make nutrients available to the roots and keep them from standing in water, as the amended dirt will have better drainage. As these bushes are pretty big, we would recommend you trim them down quite a bit in order to handle them. They should still be semi-dormant there, and it will certainly help you when you move them.

This article on Transplanting Trees and Shrubs gives good instructions for deciding on rootball size, cutting through roots that are beyond what you can manage, and transportation to the prepared hole. Because the shrub is probably  not much out of dormancy, it should be able to withstand this without too much damage. Once you have returned the amended soil to the hole and your shrub is either supporting itself or staked upright, stick a hose in the soil and let water drip in slowly until water stands on the surface. If there is regular rainfall, you shouldn't have to repeat this more than twice a week or so. 

If the shrub begins to show signs of stress, like wilting or loss of leaves, you may need to trim off about 1/4 to 1/3 more of the foliage to compensate for the root loss below the ground. This is transplant shock and is not uncommon when a woody plant is being transplanted. Keep up with the deep watering, meanwhile making sure that the roots are not standing in water, that the hole is draining well. Don't fertilize-any plant in the process of transplanting is stressed, and you should never fertilize a plant in stress.

Pictures of non-native Lonicera maakii

Pictures of non-native Lonicera marrowii

Diervilla lonicera





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