marijuana transplant shock

Transplant Shock: 10 Ways To Minimize Transplanting Shock

The fun of growing vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees from seeds and cuttings is so rewarding. But, plant transplant shock loss can take all the fun out when plants don’t grow or show the same vigor.

Plants are designed to stay in one place. They put down roots, deep or wide, and remain there until they die. It is us who move them around to a new home.

When plants move from one place or area to another, it’s a shock. It’s difficult to watch newly planted plants adjust their new growth to the new environment.

Sometimes plants die as a result of the move and you can call it death from transplant shock.

Plant transplant shock is caused by harm to the plant roots, during the transplanting process.

Transplant shock happens to seedlings, bedding plants, newly planted trees and yes even cannabis plants.

While the thickest roots are closest to the root ball, the most important roots… those necessary for the plant to survive and thrive, are farthest from the plant.

These minor roots are like thin, tiny hairs that absorb the majority of the water spread throughout the soil away from the plant.

Many new gardeners do not consider minimizing the of transplanting shock since they’ve never experienced the loss of a plant dying after transplanting.

They see transplanting as a simple task of moving the plant’s location. Some plants cope well with the new environment and landscape, while others may completely die.

Minimize plant or tree transplant shock by taking preventative measures.

10 Tips On How To Prevent Transplant Shock Symptoms

Buy Healthy Plants

Before buying a new plant, choose the best and healthiest ones. Do not buy (AVOID) any plant that looks like it is experiencing problems, suffering from pests (use a neem oil insecticide spray), fungi, diseases or other issues.

Don’t buy root bound plants or plants with root damage.

This increases the chances of having a successful process as healthy plants are more likely to survive a transplant shock.

When you buy a struggling plant and transplant it, you only add stress to an already stressed plant.

Know When To Transplant

The beginning of spring or the end of fall are the safest times and provide the best conditions to transplant using almost any technique.

Do not attempt to transplant plants on summer days, especially field-grown plants.

Whether from small pots, seedlings in flats, larger containers or a full-grown tree and shrub, experts recommend to do it in the late afternoon when the sun no longer gives extreme heat and the wind is already calm.

When it comes to transplanting container plants, you can do it any time in between freezing and thawing.

Container plants transplant easier than trees, seedlings, and shrubs especially if you know the soil and other basics of gardening.

NOTE: I always like transplanting potted plants into a well-draining soilless mix.

Try Not To Disturb Roots

When you dig or move the plants, you will probably have to bother the root system a bit. Minimize the impact of transplant shock as much as possible.

Try to keep the root system intact and don’t shake out the soil when moving the plant.

Also, make sure the root ball remains moist. If the roots become totally dry, the roots die and the whole plant dies.

Take As Many Roots As Possible

As we mentioned earlier, the tiny roots at the farthest end of the root ball are the most necessary ones to the plant’s health and growth.

The more healthy roots you bring along when you move the trees or plants, the lesser chance of transplant shock to occur and the more likely it will survive.

How long does transplant shock last?

The length of time will vary from plant to plant and for trees, transplant shock recovery time could last years.

Plant Properly In The New Location

No matter how careful you are, plants will go through some transplant stress when moved.

You cannot prevent some:

  • Transplant stress as new transplants adjust to their new environment
  • Leaf scorch and tree transplant shock occurring from reduced root system size
  • Plants wilting after transplant, leaf rolling and limb dieback from moisture transpiration
  • Planting in heavy soils, improper planting depth
  • Improper planting technique, adds more stress to the plant!

Dig large planting holes and provide good drainage to allow extensive root systems to develop.

Make sure you choose a location that fits the plant’s needs and the appropriate depth in the ground.

Consider the amount of sun, soil drainage, soil type and quality. Then plant it using proper planting techniques: appropriately deep in the ground, moving gently, etc.

You may like our article on Dividing Transplanting Tips

Water Plants Carefully

Plants need water to survive, so give them plenty of watering immediately after moving especially young plants.

After transplanting, the plant’s root system will experience some “damage” and need to recover.

Watering makes a very important step to increase the defense of your plants or trees against transplant shock.

Water plants and trees immediately and religiously afterwards, considering their watering needs.

A cactus, will not need water nearly as often as an almond tree, for example.

If Roots Are Removed, Remove Top Growth

Except with tomato plants. Don’t trim the top growth of the plant if you’re transplanting tomato plant seedlings.

However, if woody plants or shrubs are being moved, normally, I would remove about a 1/3 of the foliage or branch tips.

Removing the extra foliage reduces stress, loss of moisture and the additional “resources” the plant needs to recover.

Follow correct root pruning steps for plants and trees to transition with higher success rate.

Fertilize With Root Boosters

Remove Dead Parts

To help a newly transplanted plant, remove any dead parts like dried leaves, branches, or stems.

Keep An Eye On Transplants

Sometimes newly transplanted material is attacked by pests and insects. A plant in shock doesn’t need the extra stress bugs deliver.

Keep a careful eye on your transplanted plants, be ready to adjust and to help get your plants off to a good start in its new location.

With these ten methods, your plants will be on their way to less transplant shock and keep the “fun” in growing!

Transplant shock is caused by harm to the plant roots, during the transplanting process. Shock happens to seedling bedding plants and trees. [LEARN MORE]

Cannabis Transplant Shock

Like most other plants, transplanting is critical to the healthy growth of a cannabis plant.

But, for most gardeners, this is also the trickiest part of growing cannabis, or any other plant per se, because it leads to transplant shock.

What is Cannabis Transplant Shock and Why Does it Happen?

The term transplant cannabis shock refers to the stress plants suffer from when they are moved from one location to another.

It usually happens because of the change in temperature, soil, or growing conditions.

Whether shrubs or trees, all plants suffer from transplant shock when they are moved from one place to another.

However, the effects of the shock can vary depending on its severity.

Some plants may only droop a little while others may wilt completely, turn yellow, or, at worst, die.

The greater the difference in a plant’s old and new environment, the severe the transplant shock will be.

Transplantation also causes a disturbance in the root system of a plant.

If not done carefully, it can cause damage to healthy roots.

Both of these factors also lead to transplant shock.

Why Is Transplanting Important for a Cannabis Plant?

Knowing about the risks involved in transplanting cannabis (or any other) plant, many gardeners growing cannabis for the first time wonder why is it important?

As mentioned above, transplanting is critical to the healthy growth of a cannabis plant.

Unlike hydroponics or deep water culture growing techniques, growing a cannabis plant in a solid growing medium, like soil or coco fiber, makes it necessary to repot the plant to a larger pot as it grows.

Otherwise, it will get root-bound.

For those who do not know, the term root-bound refers to the condition when the growth of a plant’s root system gets restricted by the pot size.

When the roots of the cannabis plant do not have enough space to grow and spread, it will cause:

  • Stunted growth
  • Stem discoloration – reddening
  • Growing medium drying out too quickly, which then will require you to water the plant more frequently
  • Wilting
  • Slow or stunted flower production
  • Smaller blooms
  • Flimsy growth
  • Nutrient sensitivity – root-bound plants easily get burned even when fed with weak nutrient solutions

According to experts, marijuana plants is protected from getting root-bound by growing them in air pots or smart pots (fabric pots) because they let air in from the sides.

Is it Possible to Prevent Cannabis Transplant Shock?

While you may not be able to completely avoid transplant shock, it’s possible to significantly reduce it.

Knowing when to transplant your cannabis plant is the most important factor to prevent or reduce transplant shock.

Transplant at the Right Stage and The Right Time

To minimize the chances of transplant shock, move your cannabis plant to the new container before it gets root-bound.

Waiting until the plant outgrows its current container will increase the chances of root damage.

For example, the young plants, grown from cannabis seeds, are ready for transplantation when they have produced 4 to 5 sets of leaves.

The root system, at this stage, should be healthy and white.

Most gardeners choose to transplant their cannabis plants two to three times during the initial growth stage before they start to produce flowers, to encourage healthy and better veg growth.

Make sure there is plenty of space available in the final container for the plant to fully develop.

With regards to the time of transplantation, experienced gardeners recommend doing it at the beginning of the spring or at the end of the fall season.

Never transplant your cannabis plants during the summer season.

Whether you are transplanting seedlings, small plants, or large ones, experts recommend doing it in the late afternoon, when the sun and wind have calmed down.

Some Other Measures Which Can Help Prevent or Reduce Cannabis Transplant Shock

Here are some more tips and tricks to make sure your cannabis plant doesn’t get severely affected by transplanting:

  • Limit the disturbance to the root system – While you cannot move the plant to a new location without disturbing the plant roots at all, you should try to minimize it as much as possible.
  • Try your best to keep the root ball intact when taking out the plant (turning the container upside down might help).
  • Also, do not shake out the soil or let the root ball dry out.
  • Water regularly – Water the plants immediately after transplanting – it will help the root system to recover from the damage or shock.
  • Feed with a root booster – Help the newly transplanted plants to the environment and encourage their root development by feeding them with a transplant boosting fertilizer meant for promoting root growth.

How To Cure Cannabis Transplant Shock?

In most cases, the plants gradually recover from the transplant shock, on their own.

However, help speed up the process by undertaking the following measures:

Trim the Plants

Cutting back the foliage will reduce the stress as well as the loss of moisture and nutrients.

It will also help the plant focus and utilize its energy on developing the roots.

Water Regularly

Do not let the soil of your newly transplanted cannabis plants get dry.

Water the plant regularly, but only enough to keep the soil moist.

Be careful to not overwater.

Also, make sure the new soil and the new pot have good drainage – newly transplanted plants should never be left in waterlogged grow medium or standing water.

Give It Time and Care

As mentioned above, most plants recover from transplant shock on their own.

But, this doesn’t mean you should leave them on their own.

In fact, you should give extra care to the newly transplanted plants and make sure they are getting the right amount of water, sun, and nutrients.

Adding extra perlite to loosen the soil will also help the new plants to adjust to the new environment.


When re-potting a cannabis plant, experts recommend using about 3 to 5 times larger containers than the previous ones.

Also, keep the young plants protected from pest infestations, as they are susceptible to them.

Using a natural insecticide, like neem oil, has found to be highly effective.

Learn about cannabis transplant shock, the importance of transplanting, preventing transplant shock, and how to cure this issue. [GUIDE] ]]>