It’s a moving time in the winter garden

Kew pink magnolia tree
Kew pink magnolia tree
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We have all been really fed up with the wet weather and I hate the wind too.

The trouble is that the weather tends to keep us indoors, the list of jobs in the garden soon mounts up and all of a sudden we find it’s too late to undertake some of the tasks we have put aside.

I would still advise not to try to cultivate the ground when, for example, it’s too wet because we do more harm than good.

One of the jobs which we least enjoy doing is moving shrubs or trees, but winter is the ideal time as long as soil conditions are suitable.

We are going to move a magnolia because it is growing over the edge of the lawn and everyone knows magnolias don’t like being moved, so how do we go about it?

The magnolia is only five feet tall with a spread of about four feet. Tie in the lowest branches with several rings of strong string and pull them tight. This will 
allow access to the roots.

Using a very sharp spade, thrust the blade straight down into the soil to the full depth of the spade two feet from the trunk, all round the shrub. This will sever all the fibrous roots.

Thrust the spade down again about a foot from the first all round the shrub. Dig out the soil to form a trench and set the soil aside or put it into a wheelbarrow.

Now this is the difficult part. Use the sharp spade to cut underneath the shrub to sever the main root system.

Slide a large piece of sacking underneath the roots so that the whole shrub can be extracted complete with roots with soil still attached.

Preparation on the new site is important. Dig out a bowl shape to the correct depth, break up the base, scatter blood, fish and bonemeal over the soil and backfill using four handsful, then work this in with a digging fork. Finish with the gentle use of the flat foot and rake over the surface.

You will note the gentle finish. I hate to see so-called experts using their heels like elephants. This is not a good idea. Use heels to kill ants.

If there is a need to move roses from one area to another, it is a good idea to prune the roots.

Reduce the length by just one third and if blood, fish and bonemeal is used as a fertiliser by mixing it into the soil used to back fill, lots of fibrous roots will be produced and the roses will be rejuvenated.

When transplanting, remember this is best done during February as long as the ground is not frozen or too wet.

Fingers gloved and crossed!