Like we feel uncomfortable with a change in our natural habitat or environment, shrubs and plants too get disturbed when they are transplanted to a new location or a different landscape. This often leads to Transplant shock, which is one of the greatest problems gardeners face today. Sometimes this shock or stress is mild while other times it is so prominent causing your vegetation to die. This can be a costly and frustrating experience indeed. Read on to know more about it:
Causes of Transplant Shock:
Transplant shock generally happens due to damage caused to the roots. Absorption of water and nutrients occur with help of tiny hair of thin roots which lie far away from the root ball. While transplanting root hair get damaged either due to uprooting of the crop or simply by drying out. As a result plant lacks in major nutrients and ultimately goes into shock. Also, North Dakota State University (US) states that two main causes of this shock are placing the plant in too small hole and giving it insufficient amount of water after transplanting. Placing shade-loving plants in direct sunlight may also result in shock.
Symptoms of transplant Shock:
Reduced vigor is one main symptom of this shock. Plants do not grow or grow very little. Plant’s growth reduction is reflected by its length. Poorly grown plant has short internodes and small-sized leaves, and its branches are also succumbed. Plants or trees that don’t receive sufficient water after being transplanted will appear shriveled or wilted. Another common symptom is scorching of leaves. Leaves may roll, curl or turn yellow. In case of deciduous plants, tissue between the leaf’s veins or along its margin turns yellow, dries out and then turns brown.
Prevention and Treatment:
- Care should be taken while uprooting plant for transplantation. Disturbance caused to the roots should be minimal as vigorous force can cause damage to root ball. Also avoid shaking the plant/tree, and knocking or cutting of the roots. These situations can even worse the condition.
- Root ball should be kept moist all the time, as failure to provide sufficient water may hamper its wellness. If you are growing a tree, it will require a bucket of water 2-3 times a day during moderate temperatures. But during high temperature, plants need to be watered several times a day. Do not over-water. You can also use anti-transpiration sprays to compensate the water loss; be sure to read directions before using them.
- Plant should have good drainage. If it is emerged in water for long time, then oxygen will not find its way to the roots resulting in perished root tissue. Moreover soil will also become toxic. It will not support microbes essential for crop’s health.
- If you are cloning plants, make sure to dip cuttings in Cloning Gel. It will eliminate transplant shock occurring at time of transplantation. Also, soak growing media or soil in Cloning Solution. Apart from shock reduction, it will promote root health for successful vegetative propagation.
- Mulching helps in reducing risk of transplant shock. Apply 2-4” layer of organic mulch around plant’s base. If you are going to use inorganic mulch such as sand or gravel, place fiberglass around the plant before mulching.
- To reduce stress from shock, prune out the dead branches or leaves frequently from the growing plant. Also check for funguses and take proper steps to eliminate them.
- Don’t feed plant with fertilizers having high nitrogen content as it can burn the root system.
- Boil water with 3 tablespoons sugar and allow it to cool. Apply this solution to the roots at transplanting time. It will act as a transplant shock preventer.
- Set up a shade or wind barrier for shrubs. It will prevent them from drying out during intense sunlight/wind conditions.
- Choose right time for planting your crops. Avoid transplanting them during inappropriate season such as fall. Such trees are often shocked as winter hits.
- Trim your plants before transplanting. Trim about 1/3rd of a plant. Remember not to trim too much as it may make the shock even worse.
- Plants can be treated with aspirin water as it is beneficial for plant’s health. It also acts as an immune system booster for crops.
- Compost tea mixed with water can be used to water the plants. It is another effective remedy to treat transplant shock.
Make sure to follow above mentioned precautions and treatment to avoid and cure transplant shock conditions. Happy Gardening!