TRANSPLANTING, the process of estab lishing plants in new quarters, is one of the most important operations of horticulture, agri culture and forestry since it permits large num bers of plants to be grown during their early stages in very restricted areas, thus economiz ing space and the labor entailed in their cultiva tion until they are able to care for themselves. The operation is, therefore, in constant use in greenhouses, nurseries, etc., where it occupies a very large part of the time of the workers. And for forestry work hundreds of thousands of seedling trees are transplanted annually.
The operation may be performed at any sea son provided proper care is exercised in manipulation. But there is with each species of plant a season at which success is more certain than at others. With evergreens this season is in the spring just before growth starts; with deciduous subjects the autumn, af ter the leaves have fallen, is often as good as the spring, but a great many deciduous plants may be transplanted during the growing season. Usually, and upon large scale operations, how ever, only small herbaceous plants are trans planted while in active growth and then only when prepared for such operation by being grown in gardens or beds with this end in view. Such preparation is necessary since the opera tion, so far as the plant is concerned, is always violent because, even when most carefully per formed, large quantities of the roots are de stroyed and these losses are the greater as the plants are larger and more firmly established. Hence, the smaller the plant when removed, the more likely is it to become re-established. Trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials which have not become active in the spring or have ceased activity in the fall are less likely to suffer because their active roots have either not formed, as in the former case, or hqve ceased to act in the latter. The plants should always be removed with as much of the root-system as possible, be exposed to the air and sun as short a time as possible and replanted in soil at least as moist as that from which they have been taken ; if more moist, so much the better. By soaking the soil deeply around each plant it is possible to transplant strawberries and other plants successfully even while the ground is powdery dry in midsummer. Since the loss of
feeding roots will curtail the supply of water absorbed, the leaf surface must be reduced con siderably. In many instances one-half is con sidered satisfactory, but with fruit trees, vines and ornamental shrubs, two-thirds or even more is frequently cut away from the tops. This top pruning is preferably done after the plants have been set, because any injured twigs may then be removed and there is then less danger of injuring the buds which are counted upon to form the new tops. Always the soil should be pressed firmly about the roots, the larger sub jects being made firm by tramping the soil down hard with the feet.
Many factors exert an influence upon trans planting. In arid regions, and in places where the winds are dry or prolonged, the operation is less successful than where reverse conditions prevail. Plants which have tap-roots cannot usually be transplanted successfully after they have once become established; hence, the neces sity of them when very small and the advisability in many cases of cutting off the tap-roots by means of root pruning tools which go beneath the plants while still growing in the nursery rows. Instead of this method plants and others that are slow to pro duce roots are often transplanted several times in the nurseries to develop more ex tensive root-systems near the surface. Stocky plants almost invariably give better results than attenuated or weak ones, and plants which have been inured to the temperature of the outside air succeed where plants not so "hardened-off" from greenhouse or hotbed conditions will almost invariably fail or suffer serious check. The weather at the time of the operation is also an important factor. If cool, cloudy or showery weather succeeds the transplanting, the chances of success not only in the operation but in the crop (if the plant is an economic) are greatly enhanced, and if the soil be freshly prepared so much the better. Except in dry weather it is inexpedient to water newly set plants; but when this is done water should be given in abundance at the base of the stem, and after it has soaked down the surface should be pulverized to hold the moisture in the soil. The watering is best done in the evening and the pulverizing in the morning.