When can I move a small shrub?

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I have a 2-3 year old Purpleleaf Sandcherry that I'd like to relocate. Is it safe to do so any time (I'm in Zone 3)? It's about 3' tall/ 2' wide, I would be sure to dig a large root ball, and water well for the rest of the season. Waiting til fall or spring might be difficult, since may be the idea spot for my new hydrangea, and the sandcherry doesn't get enough sun in this location (and is hardly visible against a brown fence). Thanks!
I'm not familiar with a sandcherry, but generally speaking it is best to move a plant when dormant. If you cannot do that though, and it must be moved, do it as late as you can and prune about a third of the branches off to reduce the load on the root system, and as you say, water well for the rest of the season.
Like Randy said, t's always best to wait until a plant is dormant to move it. However, most will do ok if moved when not dormant if you give them plenty of TLC. So plenty of water, avoid high nitrogen fertilizers, maybe water in once with liquid seaweed or kelp at half strength.
Hi Rebecca, I wouldn't move the Sand cherry at this time as it has been growing in a shaded spot and you are going to move it to a sunny place during the hottest time of the summer, it might be to hard on the tree to do it in August. I would wait until mid Sept. I would just dig the Hydrangea in someplace for the next month and then move both of them in Sept.

Welcome to the forums, hope to see you around the threads.
I agree. I would wait a while like swindy said, prune like Randy said dig a big root ball like you said and fertilize like Blue said. If you don't have some place to heal in your hydrangea it should be fine for another month to six weeks in the pot you bought it in.
Thanks for the replies, I agree, the sandcherry might be too established for a mid season move.

But what's your opinion on moving newly planted shrubs (or perennials for that matter)? I generally use the rule of thumb that anything in the ground for less than a month or so is reasonable to move, provided it isn't too late in the season. I've had success with this, and was just wondering if there was any official advice on the matter. Thanks. :)
I see you are in zone 3 .... so even your hot hot days of summer, are not all that hot!!! I start moving things around mid August .... and water them well to help adjust to the move. WHenever I move something, I try to not disturb it's roots all that much and never have a problem.
Hi Rebbeca and welcome.

Z3, cold winters, do they come early as well?

Okay, here in the Great Lakes we are having a record cool summer and that makes a difference with planting/transplanting.

If you want to transplant the Sand Cherry bush, here is what I would do.

Keep an eye on your weather report. If you are going to have a couple of cool or cloudy days (rain is a bonus) get read to move.

Hydrate the plant well the day before and the day of the move.

Have your new hole dug and possible get some 'Root Boost' Schultz and Miracle Grow have this product as I'm sure other do as well. Follow instructions.

Do this in the evening or cool of the day.

Recent research (MSU) shows "NOT to prune back" if possible. While foliage can strain a plant, it is also needed to feed the plant as well.

Keep well watered, (not standing in water)

The sooner you get transplants in the ground, the sooner they can establish new roots to help survive a cold and harsh winter.

Even after a shrub/tree drops leaves, the roots continue to grow until the ground freezes (get them established soon). Water until ground is frozen.

Mulch this fall to help insulate and frost upheaval if that is an issue where you live.

You can prune back as needed the following spring.

I totally agree with Ron. My girlfriend gave me a slip of a poppy I wanted...said it would NEVER survive as it was mid June. Well - this plant is so happy :D The main part died off and it has such beautiful green lush foliage now....the cool summer and lots of rain helped it along, so yes, watch your weather and go for it!!! Personally, I love a challenge, even if it is with Mother Nature
sounds like you got good advice.. i am zone 5 and i move perennials and shrubs in the fall.. mid Sep

except daylilies i can move anytime and iris i move in July/August
Thanks so much for all of the replies and info, I decided to leave the sandcherry and move a newly planted young peony instead. The hydrangea looks lovely, and the peony is much happier in it's new home. It's been very hot lately, but after doing a bunch of planting over the weekend, it's been solid rain/cooler temps. How nice for the transplants! :)

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