IT’S TIME FOR TREE MAIN­TE­NANCE

Mov­ing, plant­ing and prun­ing – au­tumn and win­ter are busy times for tree main­te­nance, says Ruth

Amateur Gardening - - News -

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

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