WSU Extension


Common Cultural : Transplant shock
(revision date: 4/30/2013)

Inadequate root systems, improper planting, overwatering, underwatering, transplanting during the wrong time of year, allowing roots to dry or freeze, and severe root pruning are common reasons for transplant failures. Symptoms usually show up the first growing season following transplantation.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • For container-grown plants, drive a spade vertically straight through the bottom half of the root system at planting time. Horizontally spread the top half of the surface roots by making six to eight vertical cuts around the perimeter of the root ball.
  • Remove circling or girdling roots by making six to eight vertical cuts through surface roots and spread cut root ends at planting time.
  • Only buy balled and burlapped plants that have an adequate size rootball and have been properly root pruned several months to a year or more before being dug from the ground.
  • Remove all twine and burlap after plant is put into its hole at planting time.
  • Irrigate properly during plant establishment.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Severe root pruning on cedar
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Transplant failure
Photo by: R.S. Byther