In the Garden: Cooler Weather Creates the Perfect Time to Move Plants | Home & Garden

Now that September and its cooler temperatures have arrived, it’s a great time to think about moving things around in your garden.

A flower or shrub may be too tall for the location it is planted in or may not be getting enough sun or shade. Perhaps you took advantage of the late summer sales or received a plant or two from a fellow gardener.

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John Fech of Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties said mid-September to early October is the best time to move. This is when the temperatures are regularly in the 70s or 80s.

But you can start the work ahead now.

It starts with choosing a new location and making sure it meets your plant’s needs, whether in sun or shade. Keep an eye on the location for a few days to determine if it meets your plant’s requirements.

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“The next thing is to loosen the soil where it’s going to be moved,” Fech said. “If there’s a lot of clay and you want to move a transplant like a perennial, you can modify most of its root zone.”

Loosen the soil with a four-tine pitchfork and work in some compost, making a hole about the same depth and twice as wide as the plant’s root ball. Work in about an inch of mushroom, cotton bur, worm or Oma-gro compost.

This isn’t always possible with a larger tree or shrub, so make a hole to accommodate the root ball.

When you take the plant out of its original home for the move, check that the leaves and roots are not diseased or damaged.

“Cut anything that’s soft, brown, or has insect tunnels in it,” Fech said.

Some very hardy plants, such as irises, hostas and rudbeckias, can be moved successfully almost any time of the year, Fech said.

Otherwise, you want to move the plants into the opposite season from when they bloom. For example, a lily of the valley blooms in the spring, so it is a good candidate for moving in the fall.

“You don’t want to move a plant like plumbago or fall joy sedum that blooms in the fall, because then a lot of energy is spent,” Fech said. “Moms can wait for spring. Anything that blooms in spring and summer is a good candidate for fall.

Perennials such as plumbago, boltonia, sedum, asters and turtles should be divided in the spring.

Fech said every gardener should have a small pile of compost and wood chips hidden somewhere in their garden to store a plant until it’s ready to go to its new home. The north side of the house where the sun is not so hot is usually the best. It also works for storing anything in a jar.

“Let’s say someone gives you a plant or you bought something in the spring and you haven’t planted it yet. If it’s hot, like 90 degrees, it would be best to wait until the summer heat is out. It’s a good temporary location for that,” Fech said.

Nebraskans Help Monarchs

Candice Teal of Conservation Nebraska received 351 reports of monarch butterflies from Omahans and several others across the state.

Monarch Blitz


Teal had asked people, whom she calls citizen scientists, to report any sightings from July 17 to August 20 during a Nebraska Monarch Blitz.

“Overall, it was really great to see the support that pollinators and monarchs are getting here in Nebraska,” she said.

Butterflies travel from southern Canada to northern Mexico, so Nebraska is sort of a midpoint for them, she said.

Conservation Nebraska, which focuses on educating Nebraskas about conservation issues facing the community, is working with Monarch Watch on the project and will submit collected data to the Tri-National Monarch Knowledge Network.

“I like to think that because of our support for the Milkweed Plantation, Nebraska is the perfect place to stop and rest before continuing their journey,” she said. “I just want to thank everyone for coming out to help during such an important time in the monarch’s history.”

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge staff will catch and tag monarch butterflies Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m., and visitors can help.

Participants will join a refuge ranger for a monarch butterfly program at the DeSoto Visitor Center, then assist staff and volunteers in catching and tagging monarch butterflies.

Participants must pre-register by calling 712-388-4822.

A farewell for a second mother

Thirty-two years ago, when I had just moved into my first home, my daughters, and then my toddlers, stood outside the front door screaming for help.

I don’t know what crazy game they were playing. But Connie Fabry calmly approached to provide this assistance and never stopped during all the years she lived across the street from us.


The neighbors got together to weed and mow Connie’s garden.


Until Wednesday when she died after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. She had just turned 80.

If I needed to feed my feral cats, the door opened for a handyman or advice on the proper way to prune a tree, she was there. She had very specific opinions about pruning trees.

She and her husband, Julian, always seemed to have the best lawn in the neighborhood and would love to tell me all about the Jerry Baker concoctions they used to make it perfect. No weeds would dare grow in Connie’s garden anyway.

When I turned my parking lot into a flower bed, Connie would magically appear to help me weed and we would talk. The end result always made me laugh; I was just pushing twigs and weeds willy-nilly into the yard waste bag until it overflowed. Connie would methodically cut each branch to size and stop where the line on the bag said to stop.

As Connie weakened this summer, of course, there was no time for courtship. The neighbors spent last Saturday morning mowing and weeding, hoping to show Connie and Julian how much we care for them. Now it will look good for visitors in the difficult days ahead, just as Connie would have wanted it to.

For me, my second mom will be desperately missed. Weeding that front garden bed will never be the same again.

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