Dirty Secrets: Gardeners Share Their Tips and Tricks for Hauling Plants Home

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By Kathy Jentz

A reader of Washington Gardener (http://www.washingtongardener.com/) recently asked me to share ideas on hauling landscaping home, I rarely have a car-full myself these days as my garden is mature now. So I asked several fellow gardener communicators to share with me how they get their plants home with minimum damage to their vehicles and their green passengers. With GWA Atlanta on the horizon, those who live within driving distance may find these ideas helpful.

Professionals Prefer a Pick-up

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Plant-hauling photo courtesy of Dawn Pritchard of Silver Linings Lavender

A gardener in Carmichael, CA, says, “A small truck is really just another gardening tool. I put plants inside plastic and metal milk crates to prevent them from falling over. You also can use cardboard boxes for plants. Clean-up is a matter of hosing or sweeping out the bed. Easy-peasy.”

Another respondent bought a mesh cargo tarp to cover plants and other loads. She lives in Maryland, a ‘covered load’ state. “The mesh tarp lessens the effects of the dehydrating air on the plant leaves, keeps things from falling out, and keeps the state troopers from pulling me over!”

U-Haul Is Your Friend

From Culpeper, VA comes the suggestion to take advantage of U-Haul. “You cannot find a better-balanced trailer anywhere.” He recommends the enclosed trailers for hauling plants that you don’t want to get wind-burned.

SUV are Super-Usable (Gardening) Vehicles

GWA member Lois de Vries say “Our last two SUV’s came with removable cargo liners.” This makes it very easy for after-job cleanup. “I drew the line at bags of cement, however, and insist that ‘the Undergardener’ [also known as Lois’ husband] put a tarp on top of the liner for that.”

Mommy Minivan Maneuvers

One young mother explains, “In my MommyMobile we keep a roll of trash bags in the trunk for covering that area or putting around tree balls/buckets. I also have an extra-long plastic under-the-bed container [purchased at a home goods store] that I can set smaller pots in, along with a bucket for stuff that needs roots to stay wet.”

Haul in a Hatchback

“Hatchback for sure!” exclaims a gardener in Austin, TX. “I’d love to have a truck, but

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Sharee Solow of Solow Horticultural Designs, Elkins Park, PA, packs her plants on a protective tarp for the drive home

need a car too, and this works for me. When I found mine, the woman told me it could haul 10 bags of mulch at a time!”

“I have two main criteria when buying a new car,” says GWA member C.L. Fornari of Sandwich, ME. “It must be 1) really dependable in snow, and 2) have a large rear area for plants. The Subaru Outback satisfied both requirements.”

DS Car and Plants.jpgOther Transport Tricks

  • Cut a mat that goes under desk chairs to fit the back of your car. It’s easy to slide the flats of plants. If there are spills you just shake it out.
  • Cut a board to fit over the wheel hubs and make a shelf to fit more plants in.
  • Never leave home without an old bed sheet tucked away, ready to protect your car’s interior.
  • Lay plants and shrubs on their sides with the foliage and flower stalks cradled between the tightly packed pots. Most of the soil will stay in the pots and the foliage and flowers will be in good condition after the journey.
  • Use plastic crates to build temporary shelves in the back of your car. You can fit a flat underneath an upside-down crate, then another flat on top under another crate, and so on and so on.

Meet the Author

Headshot - Jentz, KathyKathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener Magazine and a long-time DC-area gardening enthusiast.  To book her for a garden talk, find her at: http://greatgardenspeakers.com/listing/kathy-jentz-4c818b5cdacc5.html.  She also edits the IWGS Water Garden Journal and is a columnist and guest blogger for several other publications. Her latest foray is as the social media voice for horticultural nonprofits such as DCGardens.com.




Author: GardenComm

GardenComm, formerly known as GWA: the Association for Garden Communicators, provides leadership and opportunities for education, recognition, career development and a forum for diverse interactions for professionals in the field of gardening communication. GardenComm members includes book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GardenComm members.

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