Mahonia on the move

Yellow flowers of Mahonia japonica provide winter colour and pollen

This weekend we moved our Mahonia japonica. Established trees and shrubs should only be moved if absolutely necessary, as there will undoubtedly be some degree of stress when the plant is uprooted.

Unfortunately, this beautiful specimen (currently in full bloom and providing some much-needed late pollen for the bees) had started to grow out at an angle away from the large conifer hedge behind it. So, although it’s been flourishing in this dry shady spot, the time had come to move it.

Tips for minimising trauma when moving large plants

  • Water the soil well the day before moving
  • Prune lightly if possible
  • Lift the plant with as much rootball intact as possible
  • Prepare the new hole in advance and lift and replant in one operation
  • Mix some fresh compost in with the existing earth
  • On transplanting, firm around the base of the plant carefully
  • Water thoroughly after planting
  • Keep watering if the weather is dry until the plant is re-established

A prickly job

It wasn’t a job we were particularly looking forward to (I say ‘we’, as I enlisted the brute strength of my husband on this occasion), as the Mahonia’s spine-toothed leathery leaves don’t make it an easy specimen to get to grips with.

All I can say is … ouch! But in 15 minutes the deed was done (we’d pre-dug the hole), and my Mahonia now has the room to grow tall and straight.

Mahonia japonica
Before the move: the Mahonia was growing at a jaunty angle, but had nowhere to go
After the move: now the Mahonia has room to flourish

Choosing the right Mahonia

Different types of Mahonia grow to different heights and flower at different times of year. There are even ‘soft’ varieties available if you are worried about the prickles. To find the right Mahonia for your garden, see How to choose the right Mahonia.

One Comment

  1. Did your mahonia recover well? I need to move mine! 😬😬

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