If valuable specimen plants are in the way of your renovation project, don't toss them in the chipper. Dig them up and lodge them in a safe spot surrounded with a plastic fence. They can survive in such temporary quarters for up to a year, if you follow the steps recommended by TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook.
Uproot. Tie the branches tightly with a piece of twine. Cut through the roots with a transplanting shovel and create a root ball that's one foot across for every 18 inches of plant height. Pry the plant out of the ground and wrap burlap around the roots. Then cart it away from the construction zone. Go back and fill the hole and rake the ground level: No one likes a broken ankle.
Store. Place the plant in a shallow hole and cover the ball with a 2-inch layer of wood chips. Snip the twine and let the branches resume their natural form. Give the plant about half an inch of water twice a week.
Transplant. Prepare the beds by raking up all debris and adding compost. Retie the shrub's branches for the move to its new home. Plant it in a new hole three times the diameter of the root ball but no deeper than the spot it was growing in originally.
Is That Shrub Worth Saving? Here's Roger's Call:
Dwarf Alberta Spruce