Antitranspirants, also called antidessicants, are chemicals that reduce the amount of water plants lose through transpiration. Antitranspirants are useful because excessive water loss can result in transplant stress. While formulations vary, most products act either to induce closing of the stomata or to cover the stomata with a water-impermeable coating. Several popular brand names are available. The antitranspirants are sprayed onto the plants before and again after transplanting. Since the majority of plant stomata are present in the greatest numbers on the lower surface of leaves, the underside of the canopy should receive the greatest coverage.
Antitranspirants are of the greatest benefit in the transplanting of deciduous trees and shrubs that are in leaf. They are also of benefit to evergreens, especially broadleaved forms. Any evergreen will benefit from antitranspirants if it is transplanted in the fall, right before the dry winter period.
Follow-up Care of the Transplants
To ensure the success of newly planted trees and shrubs, it is important that certain things be monitored in the days and weeks that follow. The monitoring may be done by the company that installed the plants, or by the property owner, or by both. The specifics of care include:
• Pruning of branches damaged during movement and planting, or the removal of selected branches from the canopy to reduce the chance of the plant being tipped by the wind
• Keeping the plants deeply watered, but not waterlogged
• Eliminating weeds, turf, and other competing plants that could deprive the transplant of moisture
• Rodent control; using devices such as plastic trunk coils or screen wire to prevent animal feeding that can girdle trunks or destroy the canopy
• Frequent checks of stakes and guys to ensure their tautness and to affirm that there is no rubbing injury at the point of attachment to the tree
• Removal of all stakes and guys, associated hardware, and trunk wraps at the appropriate time
• Reapplication of antitranspirants after leaves have expanded and/or prior to the onset of winter.