transplanting, in horticulture, the process of removing a plant from the place where it has been growing and replanting it in another. The major requirement in transplanting (especially of larger plants) is a sufficient water supply, since the roots are almost inevitably injured in the process. In most cases the roots should be pruned well before replanting, both to stimulate new and compact growth and to eliminate the injured portions. The
of tree roots improves the chances of survival of the plant when transplanted. Topping (see pruning) is usually also required to balance the amount of foliage with the reduced root surface, otherwise more moisture is lost in transpiration than can be absorbed by the roots. Transplanting at a time of minimal evaporation (e.g., an evening or a cloudy day) or of minimal growth (e.g., the dormant season) can help minimize the stress on the plant. Crop and garden plants as well as trees are often started in greenhouses or nurseries under conditions carefully controlled to ensure maximal sprouting and vigorous early growth; they are then transplanted as seedlings or young plants to their permanent environment.
See N. Taylor, ed., Encyclopedia of Gardening (4th ed. 1961); bulletins of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.