I'm well aware that some plants are very intolerant of root disturbance making them very hard to transplant. I've tried to transplant a few small shrubs only to have them die two years later. I was careful to cut back the top growth when transplanting. The plants seemed to be OK the first entire year and put out new growth in the second spring, and then died the following summer. Is it possible that even though they looked healthy, they needed something simple like more water? Have you any other suggestions for helping temperamental plants move successfully? One group I tried to move were some Red Huckleberries. They were going to be destroyed, so I tried to save them, but had pretty much zero success in the end.
Hi Jay, I only transplant while the plant is fully dormant or deciduous. This is much easier in Northern CA with our moderate winters. I have seldom needed to transplant shrubs "from the wild" so I'm not sure what may have happened. I would look at moisture and/or mulch. Try soaking the roots in clayey water just after they are dug up & before planting.