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Want that lovely plant you just purchased to look as good on the job site as it did at the nursery? Follow these easy ideas to protect young plants during transport!

Living plants only thrive when their roots are secure in the ground. When they are in transport, they are particularly fragile and prone to damage. Special considerations must be taken when transporting trees, shrubs and other plants. It is best to protect plants from the elements when you transport them. Plants can get windburn, lose all their leaves, get overheated and even die, if left unprotected.

There are some simple precautions you can take, to prevent trees and shrubs from transport damage:

  • First, check the moisture level at the roots. It should be nice and damp before you transport it.

  • Make sure that whatever vehicle you set the root balls in is not too hot. Metal truck beds can sometimes reach alarming temperatures that can shock and kill root balls, if set on directly in the heat of summer.

  • In order to protect the tops of trees and shrubs, it is best to cover them. An enclosed vehicle (truck or van) is probably the easiest way to ensure protection but a shade cloth can also be used. Secure all your plant bases with bungee cords or tie-down straps. For maximum use of space and added protection, plants can be secured at a diagonal, so that the tree canopies all face the front of the vehicle. Then, a shade cloth can be secured over them. This will prevent roots from drying in the wind and will keep the leaves intact. Shade cloth is better than a tarp because it allows for some ventilation, while tarps can flap on branches during strong wind and cause damage.

If covering your trees is not an option, then please keep your speeds to less than 40 mph and avoid the freeway, to incur less damage. Exposure to heavy wind, without adequate protection, can kill a young, vulnerable tree. Additionally, transporting in the driving rain can cause damage.

Following these easy tips will increase your chances of having a healthy, thriving plant waiting for you at the end of the journey!