Will ceanothus and yew recover from being moved?

(6 Posts)
VermicularCanister Thu 20-Jun-13 22:43:58

We have recently had some work done in our garden and had to move an evergreen ceanothus and a yew (the kind with gold coloured needles that grows in a tall thin shape). The people doing the work didn't take out too much of the roots and then left them for a day baking in the sun, so we were slightly doubtful that they would survive, but anyway we replanted them and they have been in their new places for about three weeks now, and although both are still alive they are obviously the worse for their experience.

The ceanothus is going yellow all over and is dropping leaves, but lower down there is new growth appearing. Should we leave it alone and see what happens, or would it be better to cut it back and see if it regrows? It has been fairly neglected up to now, and suffered some frost damage over the winter, and it was cut back by about half (not overly carefully) when it was dug up. So it's altogether not in very good shape.

The yew seemed to be faring better, but in the past few days it has been dropping needles and going rather dry looking in places. There is new growth appearing though. We cut it back by about one-third before replanting, not sure whether that was the right thing to do.

Anyway, what are their chances of bouncing back into healthy looking plants, and what should we do to give them the best chance of recovery? Any advice would be very welcome!

TheNoodlesIncident Fri 21-Jun-13 20:29:59

Water, water, then water some more. They should have been watered very thoroughly before being dug up, which I'm guessing didn't happen.

The root hairs which take up water from the soil are right on the tips of the roots, so if they have been dug up brutally without any preparation, they will have lost a lot of those. If I was planning to transplant established shrubs, I would dig a fairly big rootball, which would inevitably sever some large roots, and water the rootball frequently to ensure new fibrous roots grew on the rootball, for at least a couple of weeks before moving. Only then would I dig it up, and hope for the best.

With your plants, you've cut back on the amount of leaves each plant has to supply with water, so there is still hope. But do keep watering them, and feed them a high potassium feed to help them establish more fibrous roots. Don't think that if it rains you don't need to water them, either...

digerd Fri 21-Jun-13 21:34:43

Transplanting should be done in their dormant stage March or November.

Yes, keep watering and fingers crossed. My DD had an evergreen Ceanothus pruned down in summer and it diedsad. Deciduous shrubs usually can be pruned.

Good luck.

Talkinpeace Sat 22-Jun-13 19:01:03

yew yes
ceanothus no

yew is long lived and copes with all sorts of abuse
ceanothus is short lived and fussy

VermicularCanister Sat 22-Jun-13 22:41:27

Thanks all for the helpful advice. I think we are ready to give up on the ceanothus, but will give the yew a chance if we can. Have given it a high potassium feed today, and stepped up the watering (in spite of the rain!)

In any case, the ceanothus hadn't flowered well for the past couple of years, so it might have been getting past it.

Next time I won't trust the landscapers to look after any plants. Foolishly I thought it would be better left to them. I should really have asked on here first and done it myself! At least they did a good job with the fencing and stuff.

VermicularCanister Fri 28-Jun-13 12:06:46

Since my last post, the yew has started to look a bit thin in places, and is going brown and dropping needles on one side particularly. Quick question: would it be worth cutting it back more? It's currently around 5 and a half feet high (was more like 8 feet before we cut it back when it was first moved). If having less foliage would help it to recover better, then I'll give that a go, but I didn't know if this would be another shock to its system. Or is it just on its way out?! Can anyone advise?

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