Moving a Saskatoon Berry Bush

Sometimes, things grow where we don’t want them to.  Sometimes, we misjudge the grown size of small plants and crowd them in too closely together. Where we live, Saskatoon Berry bushes are native to the area. These berries make wonderful pies! When I find small bushes, I try to clean out around them so they have room to grow big.

But sometimes, I need to move the actual bush itself.  The ideal time to do this in the late Fall, once the rains start again. You can transplant in very early Spring but you really need to make sure the bush gets lots of water.

I found this wild Saskatoon Berry bush in my Barn pathway flower bed. I know I didn’t plant it there, but there it is all the same. Never wanting to turn away free food, especially a perennial fruit shrub, I decided to move it.

You can see it was getting overrun with the other plantings around it. I have had this flower bed in place for a couple of years now, and I had planted the perennials quite close together. Now, everything is growing and some things are getting a bit crowded.



Can you see the berry bush? It’s growing among the iris, goutweed and poppy plants.



It actually has a few berries on it. I don’t remember seeing this last year when I was weeding, so I don’t know how long it has been hiding here.

I got the new hole dug and watered really well before digging the bush out. It’s important to do this, so the plant can have water to its roots as soon as it is planted. Once the large hole was dug, I added more composted manure to the spot. I only have this one chance to get some really good fertilizer down underneath the plant. After, all I can do is top dress around the plant, so I like to make sure the hole gets a good amount of manure before planting.



Although the berry bush is quite small, the root system looks great. Lots of roots and nice and long too. I quickly took this picture, then planted the bush right away. You don’t want these roots to dry out. The best thing to have done would be to take a bunch of dirt around the rootball along with the bush. I couldn’t do that because this little bush was so crowded amongst other perennials.



Here’s the bush in its new home, right at the top of the Barn pathway flower bed. Once I got it planted, I made a moat around it with soil. This will help the water remain around the trunk of the bush and make sure it gets down to the roots.

The most important thing I need to do now is water it every day from now until late Fall. If we have some rainy weather, that will help, but I need to make sure this shrub never dries out. This is why it’s best to transplant in the late Fall or very early Spring. That way, the rains will help make your job easier.

Now that this is planted, I am looking forward to a few years from now. By that time, this small shrub will have grown into a small tree, bearing fruit for us every year. I can prune the lower branches out, so the bush will grow taller with branches higher up. That way, we can still see the perennial flowers in the flower bed from our porch and inside the kitchen.



Here’s what this small bush should look like in three or four years, lots of Spring flowers!



The flowers should hopefully be followed with loads of beautiful big berries for us to use in pies, fruit crisps and even Saskatoon Berry Wine. Have you ever transplanted a native shrub in your garden? Did it work out all right and continue to grow?

I think probably the most important thing when transplanting is to ensure it gets lots and lots of water. Most native shrubs and trees do not like to be transplanted at all, so it’s important to make it as easy on the plant as possible.



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  1. avatar Lynda says:

    Lucky girl! I found a couple almond trees growing in my compost heap (it’s super huge btw) a couple years ago…they need to be transplanted soon…thanks for reminding me that’s something that needs to be done.

    • avatar Annie says:

      Hi Lynda, wow, I would love to grow an almond tree up here! Have you already got some growing at your farm?