Transplanting can be a tricky business. Whether moving from a greenhouse or a personal garden, plants do not care for the experience, and transplanting can sometimes trigger a disastrous response from the plant. When the stress or damage received in the transplanting process is too much for the plant, transplant shock may result. The plant either wins the struggle to adapt to its new home or dies. Different species and varieties of plants can handle transplanting better than others, but the threat is always present.
Usually, transplant shock can be caused by a failure to allow the plant enough time to acclimate to a new temperature. This is especially true if the plant has been raised in a protected condition such as a greenhouse. Another cause is when the roots of the plant have disturbed too much during transplant. Other factors that can make a difference include the weather conditions during the process, and the treatment the plant receives shortly after transplant.
Compost is an effective way to combat transplant shock, as the mechanisms of compost work well to help make the process go smoothly. Unlike fertilizers, compost requires fewer applications and will last longer keeping the soil healthy. The additional nutrients will also help the plant acclimate to its new home and lower stress levels. Reducing the amount of stress a plant experiences is paramount to a good transplant.
Immature/unstable composts can increase difficulties for transplants, so be sure to choose a quality, stable compost product like McGill SoilBuilder, especially if planting under plastic.
Amending soil with compost builds soil organic matter (SOM) and replenishes soil microbial populations. Both help all types of plants –from vegetables to trees — to not only survive the “shocking” indignities of transplanting, but thrive throughout the season.
Read more about transplant shock and compost: