Gar­den notes:

Jackie French tells how you can take your beloved plants with you to your new home with some care and for­ward plan­ning – even es­tab­lished shrubs.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

shrub shift­ing and what to plant

Pack the cat in its cage, se­cure the china, but how do you take your gar­den when you move? Legally, plants rooted in soil are a fix­ture, like an in-ground pool. Yet, with the new own­ers’ per­mis­sion, a beloved shrub can come with you to your new home.

Step 1. Be re­al­is­tic. While you can buy fully grown trees, these have been grown above ground so their roots stay in­tact un­til they reach their new home. So stick to shrubs no more than 2 me­tres high to move.

Step 2. Be­gin as soon as you put your home on the mar­ket. Dig a trench at least 60cm deep – the big­ger the shrub, the deeper the trench – around the “drip line” of the plant (where drips fall from the out­er­most branches). This en­cour­ages the main roots to form “feeder” roots to re­place any that are dam­aged when you move.

Step 3. In your new gar­den, dig a hole wider than the drip line and as deep as it is wide be­fore mov­ing the plant.

Step 4. Back at the plant, place a large plas­tic sheet at least four times as wide as the drip line on the ground. Water the site well, then dig out the shrub, be­ing care­ful not to cut into tap roots.

Step 5. Lift the shrub and as much undis­turbed dirt as pos­si­ble onto the plas­tic sheet. Wrap the roots and soil firmly, ty­ing the plas­tic sheet to the shrub’s trunk loosely but se­curely.

Step 6. Move it swiftly to its new home and plant at once. Water for at least an hour to set­tle soil against the roots.

Step 7. Prune small branches right back to the main trunk. If pos­si­ble, re­duce the size of the shrub by at least half, but this will de­pend on the kind of plant. Long trunked palms, for ex­am­ple, will die if you cut them right back – re­move their leaves in­stead.

Step 8. Spray with a fo­liar spray for at least a year af­ter trans­plant­ing and water often.

Step 9. Don’t de­spair! Some plants stay dor­mant for years af­ter mov­ing. Pa­tience and care are needed.

Mov­ing your pot plants

Line a card­board box with news­pa­per or mag­a­zines. Place one large pot or sev­eral smaller ones in­side; pack firmly with scrunched up news­pa­per, both be­tween each pot and all the way to the top, to stop earth spilling out and ex­pos­ing the roots, or the plant’s stem or branches break­ing. La­bel box “this side up”. Un­pack your plants as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter mov­ing and then water well be­cause they will be dry and also to repack the earth around their roots.

Left: When mov­ing your plant into its new home, plant it at once and water well.

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