Daphne are lovely shrubs with a reputation for being finicky and dying without cause or warning. Transplanting the finicky shrub and getting it to live in a new location is a delicate procedure, and at best usually only offers a fifty percent survival rate. But if the need or desire arises to attempt transplanting a Daphne shrub, wait until early spring and follow these tips.
Prepare New Home
Dig a hole at the new planting site that is slightly wider than you predict the Daphne root ball will be and keep the depth the same. Keep a shovel handy at the new planting hole as some adjustments may have to be made once the shrub has been dug up from it’s existing home.
Dig a Trench
Dig a trench around the shrub you are transplanting, making it slightly deeper and wider than the desired root ball. Once the trench has been created all around the shrub’s roots, use a sharp shovel under the shrub to cut the bottom roots loose from the soil. Loppers or sharp hand pruners may be needed to cut loose any large bottom roots.
Two Person Lift
To keep the roots as undisturbed as possible during the transplant, enlist the help of another person for the lifting. Have one person gently raise up one side of the root ball while the other person slides a length of burlap under the root ball. Raise the other side of the root ball and pull the burlap under the entire root ball with enough extra burlap to be used as handles to lift and carry the Daphne to it’s new home.
Gently set Daphne, with burlap will under the root ball, into the new planting hole. Remove shrub and make adjustments if needed. When the planting hole is just right, set shrub in the center and cut away or gently pull away the burlap. Use the soil that was removed from the old planting hole when the trench was dug to fill in the gaps around the root ball and new planting hole. Pat soil down gently with hands and water soil thoroughly. Mulch newly transplanted Daphne with shredded bark or woodchips, being careful to keep the mulch 3 inches away from the shrub base. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, for the first two seasons after transplanting.