I have a bad habit – I move plants around my yard the way some people move furniture around their house. Much of my gardening is trial and error, and when I realize a plant is in a bad spot my tendency is to move the plant to a better spot. And, once I get a plant to a place that it really likes, I often have to split that plant or transplant off-shoots. This year I split and transplanted Mexican Hat, Salvia, Dianthus, Creeping Thyme, Sage, and some kind of dessert dweller I can’t identify. I’ll split my Iris in July and my Peony in September. It’s nice really – it’s almost like having your own plant nursery.
To that end, last fall I finally came to the conclusion the spot I had picked-out for my raspberry and blackberry canes was not a good choice. I had hoped to fill-in a sloped area on the east boundary of our property, but even with a soaker hose the slope proved to effective at moving water down the hill and away from the roots. The plants needed to be moved in order for them to reach their maximum potential.
In November of last year I placed bamboo stakes to mark the location of each plant. I then cut the canes to the ground and mulched heavily, letting them winter over in place. On a warm March day of this year I dug up the root masses and moved them to a prepared bed. The new bed is flat, sunny, and nutrified. I created a slight dip in the bed to catch water, so even on those baked dry hot days in August, when I water the water will soak in and actually reach the roots.
So far not all of the root masses have sent up canes – three of the six. I went back to the original planting area and found three more plants coming up. I dug up these plants and placed them between the root masses that appear dead. Time will tell, but for now I have six little plants in their news location, and hopefully this year I’ll reap a solid crop of summer berries.
Update 06/13/16: Two additional root masses sent up canes, leaving us with just one root mass that doesn’t seem to have transferred well. I’m glad I left the root masses I thought were dead – two of them were still alive! We now have a total of eight plants growing in our berry trench.