Transplant shock is a term that refers to the series of stresses that occur in recently transplanted trees and shrubs. It involves the failure of the plant to take root well, leading to poor establishment in the landscape. Common problems that can arise during transplantation are wilting, stunted or poor growth, leaf fall and, in severe cases, death. Experts agree that a newly planted tree normally needs one year for every inch of trunk diameter to recover a normal root system.
For example, a three-inch diameter tree will need at least three years in the ground to fully establish itself. There is also a general rule that says for every centimeter of caliber, it suffers a shock for 1 to 1.5 years. When several stresses are experienced, the plant may no longer be able to function properly. For example, vegetables can recover from shock after 2 to 4 weeks of transplantation.
However, plants such as trees can take up to two years or more before they recover from all the shock stress of transplantation. This simply means shoveling the roots around the tree at a comfortable distance from the trunk. The stress created by this imbalance of supply and demand can be increased by potential incompatible conditions that await a tree in its new home, such as infertile soil, limited space, and changes in climate. But what if you want to change houses and want to continue with your favorite plants? Or maybe you've started growing some seeds indoors during the hot summer and want to transplant them into the garden during the cold season? In this case, you can reduce or avoid transplant shock when plants are transplanted in the right way.
Proper watering after transplanting is especially important during the first year; over-watering is just as harmful as under-watering. While trimming newly planted trees for shape is not recommended, experts agree that you should prune dead or dying twigs. Transplant shock will remain a planting problem until the natural balance between the root system and leaves of the transplanted tree is restored. All you need to know are the symptoms to look for, the methods of recovery, and the time needed to repair the trees.