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Moving Plants in Autumn

  18/10/2013 at 11:44 am

In your garden there are probably plants that have either outgrown their position, or which occupy a space that you now prefer to use for something else.

In the case of established shrubs some of the root system will be lost when they are dug up. It is a good idea to prune the shrub back by about a third. This means the remaining roots will be able to provide enough nourishment and water to support the remaining foliage.

Decide upon the new location and dig an ample hole to accommodate your plant. If the soil is heavy or compacted, it helps to break up the earth at the bottom and sides of the hole to encourage the roots to ‘escape’. Fill the hole with water and wait till it has been absorbed into the soil (sometimes this can take several minutes).

In the case of herbaceous plants, those that have formed clumps can be divided and placed into separate locations, perhaps in a group to maximize the impact of the plant. Established shrubs can have a substantial root system. Dig them up, taking as much of the root-ball as possible. It may be necessary to sever some of the stout roots with secateurs or even loppers. For heavy plants move them in a wheelbarrow or call in the services of an under-gardener (a.k.a partner or child).

Settle the plant into the hole and ensure that the soil is at the same level on the plant as it was before. A bit of infilling, is sometimes necessary if the hole is too deep. Replace the soil and firm it in lightly with the heel of your shoe. Give it a further drink and leave it to settle in

The plant may look shocked and its foliage will droop; some branches can even die. Generally the plant will recover within a few hours and new growth is rapidly made.

Finally, look at the empty space that is now available and think about which new plants you would like to grow there!


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