Acuba japonica - pruning and moving
Attached photo shows a 10-year old Acuba japonica which is thriving, but which needs to be moved to facilitate a utility upgrade and renovation (natural gas - meter shown adjacent to plant). The plant is approximately 6 1/2 feet tall and has a spread of just over four feet. Is it feasible to prune the plant rigorously now and remove as large a root ball as possible and move it, or do the size of the plant and the current cold season conspire against moving it with any hope of its survival? I'll be grateful for any advice you can offer. Many thanks for this valuable website service to gardeners.
Your photo was not attached. If you decide to transplant, we recommend that you select your new site in the shade (not a windy location) in an area where the soil drains well. Water the shrub well before transplanting. Prune the shrub by about one half. Dig as large a root ball as possible and move to the new location. Keep the new shrub well watered up until the ground freezes and throughout the next season during dry periods. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the stem.
See our website for planting and transplanting http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/trees-and-shrubs/planting-process
Protect the shrub with burlap and leaves. Most likely you will have some winter damage due to reduced roots. Hopefully, the shrub will survive.