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When you transport big plants... or have a mover do it for you.

When you transport big plants . . . or have a mover do it for you

The least of your worries when you move to another county or state will likely be how to take prized outdoor container plants with you and what to do with pots and sundry garden chemicals. But without advance planning, even moving an item as simple as a citrus tree in a whiskey barrel can offer unpleasant surprises.

If you're planning a move in the near future, first check the Sunset Western Garden Book to make sure the plants you want to take will adapt to their new location. If you're moving out of the West, check an appropriate regional garden reference book.

Moving plants yourself

Looking at a road map, consider the different weather extremes you may experience. On sunny days, a truck or van can become extremely hot, possibly damaging plants; if you can, provide air circulation and park in the shade. In cold weather, you may have to protect tender plants during overnight stops--perhaps by wrapping them in old blankets or even by taking them into the motel room.

When packing a truck or van, protect plants with awkward growth habits or delicate stems by placing them in cardboard boxes or by a wrapping them with paper. Brace small containers to prevent them from falling over; one way is wedging them between bags filled with sand.

Pack garden chemicals very carefully. If you decide not to take them with you, contact your local cooperative extension agent for proper methods of disposal, or give them to a neighbor who gardens.

Using a professional mover

Let your mover know well in advance exactly what you want to move (make a list beforehand, including plants, pots, and garden chemicals).

Federal regulations prevent movers from carrying aerosol cans or flammable materials. Which outdoor plants the mover will take depends on local, state, and federal quarantines, plant size, and how the truck will be loaded. If your belongings are to be tightly packed into one truck, the mover probably won't want to carry bulky plants. Some firms leave it up to the individual driver to make last-minute decisions on these matters.

Find out how long your plants will be in the truck and what conditions will be like inside. Most plants can survive several days without light, but may dry out if it's too hot or suffer damage if it's too cold.

Also consider that heavy soil-filled containers can add to the cost of a move.

Check for plant quarantines

To keep out unwanted pests, federal and state departments of agriculture regulate the transportation of plants between countries, states, and sometimes counties. Arizona, California, and Hawaii are particularly strict.

Call the local or state office of the department of agriculture at your destination and specify the plants you want to move. If you'll be traveling through California or Arizona, where plant movement is restricted regardless of whether you intend to stay, call their state departments of agriculture as well: (916) 445-8314 in Sacramento, (602) 255-4373 in Phoenix.

Move only plants that are free of insects, diseases, and weeds. Inspect them several weeks before the move so you have time to control any problems before moving day.

Some states may require that certain plants be certified pest-free before you move. Usually an official from your state's department of agriculture will visit your home (there may be a fee).

Other precautions

Well before moving day, make sure wooden containers are sturdy and that the bottoms have not rotted away. Plants growing in weak or cracked containers should be replanted in pressed fiber or plastic pots--they are light and relatively inexpensive.

Water container plants several days before the move so there is plenty of time for the soil to drain.

If you have sold your house and wish to dig a prized plant out of the ground to take with you, make sure you have the permission of the new owners. Legally, landscape plants belong to the new owner unless agreed otherwise.

Photo: Check bottoms of wooden containers before you move them. This one had rotted out. A piece of plywood, placed under it on a rented dolly, made the move easier; a strap held the container in place. Thick planks helped them ease dolly into the van

Photo: Use cardboard to wrap delicate plants such as this tree rose to prevent breakage or wind damage
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1986
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