On a recent trip to the local big box store during early November I found a nice little New York aster in the bargain bin. It had already finished blooming but was healthy and begged to be bought and taken to a permanent garden home. The price was right and I needed a replacement for a similar aster I had lost to the heat during the summer. So why did I hesitate? Transplanting always disturbs the roots and transplanting late in the season creates an additional problem because the cold temperatures discourage good root growth. Here’s a way to minimize root disturbance when transplanting late in the season yet allow the roots to grow as much as they can. This hint comes from an old time nurseryman in North Carolina.
All you need is a pair of heavy duty scissors, shears and/or sharp knife.
1. Cut off the bottom of the plastic pot
2. Cut 4 slits about half way up the sides of the pot
3. Place the plant with its plastic pot in the garden bed.
4. In spring, pull the pot up over the plant and out of the ground. The hardest part is cutting the slits in pot with the plant in it. I found that using a sharp utility knife is easiest to use for that part of the job while the scissors or shears are best for cutting the bottom off.