November Gardening.

November is a quiet month in the garden and mostly a time to catch up, clear up and weed. I find after being shut indoors in bad weather it is lovely to get outside into the garden on milder days and clear up. I always feel better after spending time in the garden.
We’ve all done it. Planted a tree, shrub or climbing plant somewhere in the garden, only to realise a later that it’s in totally the wrong place! Sometimes they have outgrown their space or don’t do very well in a particular spot. Perhaps they just don’t look quite right with their neighbours and you spot a far better place somewhere else, but moving plants isn’t like rearranging furniture. You need the right time and technique. Late autumn is a great time to move deciduous shrubs and trees (ones that lose their leaves). Follow these simple steps:
Prepare in Advance:
1. Wherever possible, before lifting and moving, start by pruning back up to one-third to half of the stems and top growth – this will reduce the stress on the plant’s roots and so aid more successful re-establishment.
2. The day before moving, water the soil around the plant thoroughly. This will ensure the roots are fully charged with moisture and reduce stress.
3. Have the new hole dug and ready, so you can transplant straight away. This should be the width of the expected root spread, plus an extra 30-45cm (12-18in). Fork over the bottom of the hole and add some bulky, well-rotted organic matter.
Time to move:
4. When you’re ready to move the plant, dig up as big a rootball as possible that you – or you and a friend or two – can safely lift and move. Ideally, this should be as wide as the spread of the branches. Cut through thicker roots and once you’re down about 45cm, start to undercut the rootball deeply, chopping with a spade.
5. Once the shrub comes free, drag the rootball onto sacking or tarpaulin sheet and carry it to its new planting site between two people.
6. Replant in the prepared hole. Sprinkle the roots with mycorrhiza fungi and add more organic material to the excavated soil, so that the rootball sits at the same level as it was originally, and is covered with no more than an inch or so of soil. Firm the soil around the rootball as you fill in the hole.
7. Finally, water in well after moving and for the first year during prolonged dry periods, and mulch the soil to retain soil moisture. Tall shrubs and trees may well need staking to help keep the roots secure while the plant is re-establishing.
Top Tips for November:
• Prune rose bushes by half to prevent damage from wind rock
• Net Brassicas and Gooseberries to prevent damage from birds
• Clean slippery paths and driveways
• Prune apple and pear trees. (don’t prune stone fruit)
• Place grease bands around fruit trees to protect them from winter moths.
• Raise plant pots onto pot feet to prevent water logging.
• Plant tulip bulbs.
• If you are planning on having a bonfire check carefully before they are lit for sheltering and hibernating animals, such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs.
Whatever November brings, I hope you are able to enjoy some time in your garden.
Rachel Sobiechowski, P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 0PW

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