We continue to have drought conditions here in southeast Tennessee in the areas I hunt. It's not really fair to call it \"digging\" right now - it's more like chiseling!
With that said, I hunted behind a cousin's house on Friday, and everything was wilting and the roots seemed unusually small. So instead of bringing them all home, I replanted most of them just downhill from my cousin's house where he could hit them with a water hose during dry times. I also put a couple in one of his flower planters, one that is on the north side of his house and gets mostly shade.
Also, very few plants had berries. Most had put up a stem, but nothing ever took. I planted a few berries, but left any plant that still had green berries on it. The main reason that I replanted most of the plants was so that we could babysit them in the coming year, assuming they come up, and then get a berry harvest from them. Seems prudent to maintain the same strain that has managed to survive in the area. We will also be conditioning the soil as appropriate.
The reason I say all of that is to lead up to two questions for those more experienced than I.
1. Do ginseng roots shrink during times of drought?
2. Is mushroom compost a bad idea when transplanting roots?
The flower planter referenced above has mushroom compost in it, and if it isn't a good \"soil\" for the roots, I want to move them.
Might as well spoil them if they are only for seed production. I do not know if they like mushroom compost, but wouldn't see why not.
As for them shrinking during drought, I suspect that area to be dry during any dry spells and the smaller size may be from prolonged dry conditions. In my woods I have noticed all floor plants have it hard at certain locations and everything is lush even just a few feet away.