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How to Reduce Transplant Stress

transplanted garden vegetationTransplant stress or transplant shock is a typical plant response to a change in environment. Plants are living beings, and like any living being, they are acclimatized to the habitat where they initially take root. When this habitat is changed, they must adapt to the new conditions and set up a new biorhythm. They must re-establish their root system and relearn what amount of water, sunlight and nutrients are available, the rate at which to acquire them and how to deal with any new environmental threats.

In the interim, plants will usually show signs of stress as they adapt. The most common sign of this stress is wilting, but they may also begin to turn yellow or brown, and they may lose leaves. At this time, they are very vulnerable to invasion from both insects and disease-causing organisms. In order to minimize the stress and ensure their survival, it is best to provide them with as much additional support as possible.

Some support can be provided by strategizing the manner in which they are transplanted. It is best to move them with some original soil so they do not have to entirely re-root themselves. This can be done by growing them in a ball of peat moss which can then be placed in the new soil, leaving the root system mostly intact. They can also be exposed to some water and nutrient stress before transplanting to “harden” them and make them more able to bear transplant stress.

These tactics are helpful, but it is usually also necessary to give them additional support once they have been relocated. Just like bringing home a small puppy, in which a new owner will typically swaddle the little creature in soft blankets, buy it high-quality food, give it lots of love, and check on it frequently, plants also do well with some additional babying. For plants, this comes down to being swaddled in easy-to-consume nutrients so they can quickly regain their strength and set down strong root systems.

Two great products that assist in this process are Seaweed Extract and Microp, a blue-green algae product. All-natural and completely non-toxic, these two products ensure happy plants.

seaweed extractSeaweed Extract is a hearty blend of macronutrients and over seventy micronutrients. In a 1990 study at Virginia Tech led by Dr. Richard Schmidt, turfgrasses had a much improved root and shoot weight when treated with Seaweed Extract. The Seaweed Extract allowed them to tolerate lower soil moisture by developing stronger root systems and by enhancing plant physiology.

A water-soluble powder, Seaweed Extract can be applied a number of different ways. During the transplant process, the root system of the plant can be dipped in a solution of Seaweed Extract, it can be added to the watering can, and it can be directly applied to the leaves. Studies have demonstrated that foliar, or leaf, application aids nutrient uptake. All that is needed is a quarter to a half teaspoon per gallon of water.

soil conditioner - micropMicrop is a blue-green algae mix that, in addition to providing nutritional support to plants both newly transplanted and established, has a number of beneficial soil effects. Blue-green algae produce large amounts of polysaccharides. A few ounces of blue-green algae can produce several hundred pounds of polysaccharides. Polysaccharides produce healthy soil crumbs and radically reduce soil compaction, preventing water run-off and providing a friendly base for a plant to establish a good root system. Plus, they reduce the salinity of soil, increase available phosphorus and “fix nitrogen,” reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.

Whenever you need to move your plants from one place to another, remember to give them extra care. Make sure you have the tools at hand to help ensure a smooth transition.

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