Thursday, October 30, 2008

From here to there: Transplanting!

Due to some new construction and storage areas in the planning on zoo grounds, this week some of the horticulture staff had to find a new home for some existing shrubs and a tree located near the Visitor's Center. These shrubs have been in this area since shortly after the Visitor's Center was built about 5 years ago. We had to move one oak tree and about 30 other shrubs. To help with this task, we called in Shermik Tree Farms, located in Stacy, MN. Their company has the equipment capable of moving shrubs and trees. They came prepared with a large tree spade, a spade for a skid steer, and a U-blade for digging out shrubs.

Before any digging could be done, it's very important to locate underground utilities. Call Gopher State One Call before doing this sort of project. Their services are free, and they can be reached at (651) 454-0002. Since our project was right by a building, we had a lot of underground utilities to worry about, but once we determined it was safe to dig, things went smoothly. The gentlemen at Shermik did a very nice and efficient job for us.

It's also important to know when is the best time to transplant the type of shrubs or trees you are dealing with. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to transplant before the buds break in the spring, or in the fall until the ground is frozen. Once the leaves start to change color, or even when the leaves drop is a good time in the fall. The timing worked out perfect for us. One thing that is a bit of a challenge this late in the season is getting water to these newly transplanted shrubs. Our seasonal water lines have been turned off for the season, so we have to bucket water out to them. It is important that shrubs aren't transplanted into dry soil in the fall. They need enough moisture for them to make it through the winter. Overall this was a very successful project, and we saved some plant material from more construction.