IT’S TIME FOR TREE MAINTENANCE
Moving, planting and pruning – autumn and winter are busy times for tree maintenance, says Ruth
Advice on moving, planting and pruning
IF you have deciduous trees and shrubs in your garden, autumn and winter are key seasons for keeping them looking their best. Most of them can be pruned now, while they are dormant and the sap is lying low, though timings vary for certain varieties (see p5 panel).
Whether you are trimming them back to keep them attractive, or removing whole branches that are diseased, dangerous or growing out of place, always use sharpened tools that will cut cleanly without damaging the remaining wood. Clean tools after each
‘There is no need to use wound paint after pruning’
task (I wipe mine down with antibacterial hand sanitiser) and wipe them again before you next use them, to help avoid the spread of disease. As with all woody plants, start by removing crossing, congested, dead, damaged and dying material, as well as unhealthy spindly growth.
If you are nervous removing larger branches, enlist the help of a friend or bring in professionals to do the job for you. The latest advice after removing a major branch is to leave pruning wounds open to the elements instead of using paint-on healants, as there is no proof they actually benefit the tree. Below I show you how to move an established shrub. Trees and shrubs are not always easy to re-locate and you will have the best chance of success with younger specimens. Winter is the best time to do so, when plants are dormant. Choose a cool, still day with little sun, so the roots lose as little moisture as possible.
Speed is key, so prepare the planting hole before moving and keep the rootball intact as you lift the plant so it can be popped straight in.
If you are planting a container tree, follow steps 4-6 in the guide below, teasing out the roots to help them spread and stabilise the plant.
Mulching with well-rotted compost will help this young apple tree
Mulch shrubs to protect the roots