Have you ever planted a shrub or tree and noticed yellowing leaves about one week after installation? Did you notice leaf drop? If so, this was probably transplant shock! What is transplant shock?

What Causes Transplant Shock?

Transplant shock is caused by stress to your plants at the time of installation or movement from its original container. All shrubs and trees, whether small or large, may show signs of transplant shock. When the plant is taken from its original environment and reinstalled into new soil or a new container, the root system is often disturbed.

In addition to the root system being disturbed, the plant must also readjust to its new home. Much like people moving to a new state with increased humidity or colder temperatures, a plant can become shocked by the movement and the new surroundings. Many times, transplant shock is inevitable.

What Are the Signs of Transplant Shock?

Signs of transplant shock can be so minimal that you may not even notice; however, some signs can be rather drastic. In some cases, transplant shock can cause shrubs and trees to drop most of their leaves. In other cases, you will notice the leaves changing color.

Can I prevent Transplant Shock?

The best way to completely eliminate transplant shock is to plant when the tree or shrub is dormant and when weather conditions are milder. In Fayetteville, NC, the best time to plant to decrease the chance of transplant shock is September – February.

If planting during the fall and winters months is not an option, be sure not to disturb the roots or root system when installing the plant. The only reason to break apart the root ball is if the plant appears to be root bound. When a plant is root bound, the roots begin growing in a circle around the pot. This can cause a plant to die due to the lack of soil, nutrients, and water that is not able to be absorbed.

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