I realized that my 3-year-old ‘Nikko Blue’ hydrangeas are planted in full sun and need to be moved. Can I transplant them to another location and, if so, when should that be done? J.K., Canton
Don’t panic and brandish a shovel at your ‘Nikko Blues’ just yet! Your “full sun” could have some ameliorating conditions that dilute the intensity of the light. Although hydrangeas are natural woodland plants, they can handle full sun if moisture is consistent and they are protected from midday sun, the real scorcher of the day. That said, their preference is dappled shade. That can be achieved even with a high tree canopy. Greater consideration should be given to desiccating wind patterns and protection from those.
If you still feel you need to transplant your shrubs, fear not. A hydrangea’s root ball in most cases is quite compact and generally comes out of the ground with a good quantity of soil adhering to its roots. This enables transplanting with a minimum slow down in growth. At three years old, yours should still be a size that you can handle easily. Late spring is the best time to plant or transplant your hydrangeas. Keep as much soil around the root balls as possible. The top of the root ball should be just below ground level in its new home. Make sure you put a little leaf compost in the bottom of the hole and spread out the roots into the new space.