Replant your shrubs, but mind the prickles

Moving  prickly shrubs like the berberis above can be a pain, so cover them with a tarpaulin.
Moving prickly shrubs like the berberis above can be a pain, so cover them with a tarpaulin.

SOUTHSEA GREEN: With Irene Strange

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Autumn is the perfect time to reorganise your garden, so grab some hessian and get stuck in.

November is a great time to move plants around. Large plants in particular can be transplanted at this time of year.

My advice is to choose a pleasant day as it will make the job easier and feel less like a chore. When moving large specimens it is essential to keep the roots moist.

On windy days the roots quickly dry out and if left exposed for a few hours, the roots actually die.

If a large shrub has to be transplanted, for example a magnolia, a trench the width of a sharp spade needs to be dug out just below the canopy of the shrub.

The trench will be the same depth as the spade and as the soil is removed, quite a lot of fibrous roots will be cut off.

This is fine as long as those which remain are kept moist.

The spade is now used to undercut the roots. After cutting half, cover the exposed roots with damp hessian and then undercut the other half.

The hessian is now dragged underneath the root ball and tied to the trunk.

This makes it much easier to get the whole thing out without losing too much soil.

If soil keeps sticking to the blade of the spade, use a piece of wood shaped like a wedge to clean the mud off the blade. This is one of my trade secrets.

The shrub is now planted in the new position and watered, even if the ground is wet.

In springtime, it is a good idea to spray over the stems and leaves with rain water rather than over-watering the roots.

If the shrub which is to be transplanted is very prickly ­– a holly or berberis perhaps – cover the whole shrub with thick material or one of those cheap blue tarpaulins you see in markets. This will protect you and in particular your eyes.

If you see some of the shoots appear to be dying back during the spring, don’t worry.

This was due to loss of roots – simply prune the dead parts back to the live shoots.

Next, water the plant all over the foliage with Maxicrop Growth Stimulant.

This is an excellent product to help struggling plants of all types.

At home Pam and I are cutting down our herbaceous plants and replacing the labels, writing their heights on each tag.

A future article will be dedicated to how to move these plants, whenever we get round to doing it ourselves.

Finally, I wanted to thank my readers for all your lovely letters.

I will send a personal reply if you include a stamped addressed envelope, but please be patientas I get many letters.