Use surgical skills for transplanting

Now's the time to move that magnolia in the middle of the lawn.
Now's the time to move that magnolia in the middle of the lawn.
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This is a good time to move plants around. Is that conifer in the wrong place? Is that tree in the middle of the lawn in the way of mowing, or are some of the herbaceous plants in the wrong place?

Great, because this is the time to get things organised. November is the perfect time to transplant plants, even large ones.

I always advise choosing a pleasant day and I really look forward to doing jobs like these. It’s great exercise too.

Remember, when you are moving large specimens it is essential to keep the roots moist.

On windy days, the roots will dry out quickly and if you leave them exposed for just a few hours they will die.

If a large shrub has to be transplanted, for example a magnolia, (they don’t like being moved unless it is done properly) a trench the width of a sharp spade needs to be dug out just below the canopy of the shrub. And please make sure your spade is sharp.

Make the trench the same depth as the spade .

As the soil is removed, quite a lot of the fibrous roots will be cut off.

This is all right as long as those which remain are kept moist.

Now use the spade to undercut the roots.

After cutting half, cover the exposed roots with damp hessian (sacking)and then undercut the other half.

The sacking 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.

Here’s a good tip: 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.

Now plant the shrub in its new position and water it well – even if the ground is wet.

In the spring it’s 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 notice some shoots dying back during the spring, don’t worry too much.

This will be because of the root loss.

Simply prune off the dead parts back to live shoots and water the plant all over the foliage with Maxicrop Growth Stimulant.

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


Keep an eye out for rats and mice, particularly if you store potatoes, onions and root crops in a shed. The best plan is to keep some rat bait in a nailed-down plastic saucer and keep 20 pellets in the saucer.

When the bait is gone, you have vermin. But if it remains, you know you haven’t!