BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

Features

You are in: Lancashire > Nature > Features > Ask the gardener: Moving plants

plant pots

Ask the gardener: Moving plants

Find out how and when to move plants around your garden...

Warton's Bill Blackledge is one of the county's most popular and sought after gardeners.   If it's green and needs watering, Bill can tell you about it.  He has been answering BBC Radio Lancashire listeners' queries for over thirty years, which means he's been there nearly as long as the transmitter!

His knowledge is encyclopedic. After training at the under the then Ministry of Agriculture, Bill spent over twenty years at the Department of Biological and Environmental Services at Lancaster University.  Now, he's a regular course tutor at Alston Hall, Longridge and Lancaster Adult College.

For three decades, Bill has travelled the county with fellow judges as a regional judge for North West in Bloom.

So, whatever the problem, we like to think Bill can sort it out... at least that's the theory!

------

Marian Burnell asks...

Can I move my mahonia? It's about 1.6m tall and I want to move it to a better position in the garden.

Bill replies...

There are approximately seventy species of Mahonias Marian and the most popular species grown are Mahonia Aquifolium and the very popular hybrid Mahonia Charity which will grow to a height of approximately six feet and has beautiful long spiked yellow flowers.  With regard to the transplanting your Mahonia I would wait until the autumn time.  If you feel that you can dig out a large root ball without disturbing too many roots you can then transplant into another part of your garden.  However with your Mahonia being a very large plant, you could damage and disturb quite a lot of the root system which will cause die back and yellowing of the leaves and you would be far better cutting the main stems back to approximately two feet before transplanting.

------

Andrew Gardiner asks...

Is it possible to move and replant 4' high Griselinia littoralis?

Bill replies...

Griselinia Littoralis is a lovely evergreen shrub Andrew which grows well in coastal areas, tolerating salt and windy conditions, and is quite often used as a hedging plant.  With regarding to the transplanting of your Griselinia I would wait until the autumn time when the soil will still be warm.  You will need to ensure that you dig out a large root ball to avoid die back of the shoots and you must also ensure that you give your plant a good watering after replanting.  If you are worried about transplanting a four foot plant you can prune back the shoots during the summer period as this will not only cut down the height of the plant but also cut down the affects of transpiration loss when replanting.

------

Su Lowe asks...

I will be moving house in approximately 6 weeks.  I would like to move a twisted hazel tree - it's about 5ft high and just coming into leaf. Your advice would be appreciated.

Bill replies...

You will need to lift your Twisted Hazel (Corylus Contorta) tree as soon as possible. whilst it is not actively growing.  Do try and ensure that you dig out a large root ball and I would then transfer your tree into a large container.  I would then throughout the summer keep your tree in the large container ensuring that you do keep an eye on the watering.  When your tree becomes dormant during the autumn period you will then be able to transplant into your new garden.  Twisted Hazel will tolerate a sunny or partially shaded position and it would be well worthwhile to work into your soil some well rotted manure before replanting.

------

Karen Reynolds asks...

I have a 7ft hardy fuscia bush that I want to move.  Please can you advise a gardening beginner?

Bill replies...

You would be far better pruning your Fuchsia back to approximately two to three feet before lifting and transplanting and then you will need to try and dig out a very large root ball of soil.  Before transplanting, which will need to be done as soon as possible before new growth appears, I would try and work in some well rotted farmyard manure into the soil and also a dressing of a general base fertiliser would be beneficial.  Throughout the summer months you will need to keep and eye on the watering.

------

Sophia asks...

My neighbour has recently passed away and was a fantastic gardener with a beautiful garden.  There are azaleas, rhodeys, camelias a magnolia endless roses and bulbs. It's mid February and there is usually a frost but by mid day beautiful sunshine. I have promised to move and try and successfully keep some plants for her children to take in the future. Please help, they have great sentimental value. Would it be a disaster to move anything at this time of year or if I dig wide and deep will they stand a chance? Should I cut the climbing roses right back? The magnolia already has buds and is roughly 3ft tall but very wide. The camellias are between 3 and 4ft high and flowering already. Would it be better to pot anything? Thank you in advance.

Bill replies...

I feel Sophia that a lot will depend on what time scale you are talking about.  The roses will be coming into leaf now and it would be far better to lift these when they are dormant in the autumn time and, the same applies to the bulbs, if these are the spring flowering types again, it would be far better to allow them to die back naturally and lift the bulbs in the summer time.  If you need to lift the plants in the not too distant future you could lift the bulbs with a large amount of soil and heal these into your garden.  With regard to the Roses you would need to lift those with a large root ball and again, I would transplant them into your garden in a slightly shady area and you will need to keep an eye on the watering during the summer months.  The Azaleas, Camellias and Magnolias again need to be lifted with a large root ball and again, depending on the size of the plants some of these can be repotted into large planters.  You say that your neighbour's family intend to take these plants sometime in the future and again, a lot will depend on the time scale, if you are talking within the next twelve months these can be planted in your garden and can then be easily removed.  If the time scale is a number of years it would be far better if at all possible to repot into large containers.

------

Maria Ash asks...

We have recently moved and have a really lovely acer in our garden which is about 8ft tall we don't know what kind it is but we have to move it, could you please advise us how wide and how deep approx we will need to dig do get a big enough rootball.

Bill replies...

If at all possible Maria you would be far better waiting until the autumn time before transplanting your Acer Tree as the tree will then be dormant.  If you cannot wait until autumn time I would suggest that you lift your tree as soon as possible before it is actively growing.  As the tree is eight feet tall you will need to try and dig out a very large root ball and the chances of success will depend on the size of the root ball that you can physically remove. However if it is possible to get a small digger into your garden you will find that it will be much easier to lift out your tree and will ensure that you get a large root ball of soil.   It is important to keep an eye on the watering of your tree during the summer months and you will need to stake your tree to give support until new roots are established.

------

Michelle asks...

I have a 10ft eucalyptus tree which I planted in a raised bed (approx 1ft from ground level) as a very small plant about 3 years ago. I am moving soon and would love to be able to take it with me. Can I dig the tree up and plant it in a large pot?

Bill replies...

If you intend Michelle to dig up your ten feet Eucalyptus Tree and repot it into a large pot the chances of survival are fairly slim.  What you could do is cut back the tree to approximately two to three feet, then lift and trim the roots and, then replant into a large pot and there is a good chance that your Eucalyptus will reshoot and grow again.  I personally feel that the easiest method, unless your tree has sentimental value, is to start by replanting a new tree in your new garden or in a large container.  It is going to take a lot of time and effort to remove the tree and there is always the possibility that it may not recover.

------

Claire asks...

I have a beautiful bottlebrush plant that is doing really well where it is, however we need to move it, could you tell me how best to do this and in what month?

Bill replies...

Your Bottle Bush Plant (Callistemon Citrinus Splendens) Claire is a beautiful evergreen shrub and its arching branches produce brilliant spike red flowers during the summer months.  It does however need to be grown in a sunny sheltered position and is ideal against a sunny wall.  I would be inclined to move your plant when the soil gets warmer (during the springtime) and, it is important to ensure that you dig out a large rootball of soil, and your plant will require replanting in a well drained fertile soil. As the name of the shrub Citrinus suggests the leaves have a lemon scent to them.

------

Mags asks...

I have to move a climbing hydrangea because we are having building work done and it is in the way of the new path.  It is a beautiful plant, about 6 or 7 feet high trained into an arch shape over the existing path.  Is it possible to move a hydrangea of this size?  And is now an okay time to transplant it - will it survive (April)?

Bill replies...

If your building work is being carried out over the summer period you will need to lift and transplant your climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea Petiolaris) as soon as possible Mags. Do try and lift your plant with a large root ball to assist transplanting and you can cut back your Hydrangea just above a set of leaves and this will help to cut down on transpiration loss.  Hydrangeas can be transplanted against a north facing wall.

------

Brian Green asks...

I would like to move a Quercus Ilex tree (purchased year 2000) which is about 7 ft tall. Is it possible to move it now (December) or should I leave it until March next year or some other time?

Bill replies...

You will need to move your Oak Tree (Quecus Ilex) before it comes into leaf Brian and January/February will be fine providing the soil is not too wet or frosty.  It is however important that you lift your tree with a large root ball of soil and during the summer months you will need to ensure that your Oak Tree is well watered until the roots are well established in the sub soil.

------

Joan Brazier asks...

We are planning to move after the new year, we have had our beautiful red robin for 13 years and has grown wonderfully, we are keen to take it with us as it has sentimental value. Could you recommend a few tips on when and how to move it, we are going to land which is quite wet and boggy, can they live and thrive in these conditions?

Bill replies...

Your Red Robin (Photinia) is a beautiful shrub Joan and the stunning bright red juvenile foliage ensures that it lives up to its name of Red Robin.  The shrub prefers a sheltered and warm position and will grow in a moist but reasonably well drained soil and I am slightly worried about the wet and boggy soil you intend to replant your Photinia in.  Therefore, before planting I would work in plenty of course organic material and some sharp grit sand to assist drainage.  When lifting your shrub ensure that you try and get as much root as possible and your shrub being thirteen years old will have quite a large root system.  What you can do with Photinias - if your shrub is very large - is to cut back hard into the old wood and it will re-shoot again.  Again my only worry is the wet damp conditions and it may be worth considering replanting in a large container.

------

Joan & Howard Green ask...

We have a Rhododendron which is planted in the garden. It is not very large and has beautiful cream flowers, but we would now like to repot and place it in a large container for the patio using ericaceous compost, it is possible for us to do this? Many thanks

Bill replies...

I would transplant your Rhododendron early springtime and it is important to ensure that you dig out a large root ball and, as you have suggested you will need to use an ericaceous compost.  It is also important that your large container is well drained and I would place at least two inches of gravel at the bottom to assist drainage.  You must ensure that your plant is well watered throughout the summer months and you will need to feed throughout the active growing with an acid fertiliser.

------

Michael Blaney asks...

I have a 6 year old wisteria and am moving house. Is it possible and when is the best time to transplant this to my new house

Bill replies...

Your six year old Wisteria will need to be cut back before lifting Michael and it is important to ensure that you dig out a large root ball.  With regard to transplanting your Wisteria if possible I would wait until late February early March when the soil will be warmer but you do need to lift your plant before the buds start to swell and it comes into leaf.  You could lift your plant early than I have suggested - providing that the ground is not frosty or waterlogged.

------

Margaret Gibson asks...

I am moving home in the next couple of weeks and was wondering if I could dig up and take any of the following plants with me.  Thunbergii Berberis; Passion Flower; Bay Tree; Cherry Tree; Forsythia; Kerria Japonica.

Bill replies...

I feel that a lot will depend Margaret on how large and well established the plants are which you would like to take with you.  It would be easy enough to split your Kerrie Japonica and remove a clump of the rooted pieces.  You can cut your Passion Flower hard back before lifting and this can then be repotted in a plastic pot.  Your Berberis Thunbergii can also be cut back before lifting and it will produce new shoots in the spring - you must however ensure that you dig out a large root ball.  With your Bay and Cherry Trees it will all depend on the size of the trees.  Bay Trees are quite temperamental and it is totally the wrong time of year for lifting this tree (December).  Your Forsythia can be cut back and lifted but, you could take hardwood cuttings from your Forsythia and these need to be approximately nine inches long and half the stem can be inserted in garden soil and they do root fairly easily and also, Forsythias are not expensive shrubs to purchase.

------

Silvia Magill asks...

When is the best time to move Physocarpus I plant this last year and Fremontodendron which I plant this spring?  Both have taken well, but I need to swop them around. 

Bill replies...

I would Silvia replant your Physocarpus early springtime but, if at all possible I would refrain from replanting your Fremontodendron which does suffer from root disturbance.  You will find that your Fremontodendron requires a south facing sheltered wall for it to produce an abundance of flowers over the summer period and the most popular hybrid grown in gardens is Californian Glory.  If it is necessary to replant, ensure when lifting that you dig out a large rootball and again I would transplant early springtime.

------

Alice asks...

Arum Lily - when is the best time to move it? Mine has got too big for the place it is in now, and I need to move it across the other side of the garden

Bill replies...

Arum Lilies Alice are a species of tuberous perennials and the time for transplanting is autumn time when the soil is still warm and if your plant is too large autumn time is also ideal for splitting your plants and dividing the tubers.

------

Hazel asks...

I need to move a 3- foot tall osmanthus burkwoodii within 3 weeks out of the way of construction work.  How big will the root ball be, and what particular care must I take?

Bill replies...

Your Osmanthus Burkwoodii Hazel is a beautiful evergreen shrub producing scented creamy flowers early springtime and with regard to moving your shrub you will need to try and get as large a rootball as possible and once you have lifted your shrub you need to ensure that it is planted in a well drained soil and it will thrive in a sunny or slightly sheltered spot.   One you have transplanted your Osmanthus to cut down on transpiration loss you could prune it back to approximately two feet or even less and it will readily shoot again.  If you are having a mini-digger on site to carry out your construction work you could use this to dig out your shrub and ensure that you have got a very large rootball.

------

Ann Clark asks...

When is the best time to move my silver birch?

Bill replies...

I would transplant your Weeping Silver Birch in the autumn time Ann when the soil will still be warm.  You will need to ensure that you dig out a good root ball of soil and Silver Birch love to be planted in a well drained soil.  If your soil is slightly heavy I would mix in ten per cent of a sharp grit - which will assist drainage - and it is important to really firm the roots around your newly planted tree.

------

Manuel asks...

I have a large hydrangea deutschland (pink). Is it possible to split into 4 plants now as the area is due to become a parking space in two weeks.

Bill replies...

It is difficult to split Hydrangeas Manuel especially at this time of year (July) and you would be far better taking cuttings.  These need to be four to six inches long - cut just below a leaf node - remove the bottom set of leaves - and the cuttings can then be inserted in a peat and grit mixture - and I like to pot one cutting in a four to five inch pot.  The cuttings can then be placed in a sheltered spot.  Regarding your large Hydrangea which needs to be moved I would cut back the shoots, ensuring that you get a large root ball when lifting the plant, and I would transfer to a slightly sheltered spot in the garden.

------

Kay Rowe asks...

We moved house last August and the garden is very well established, we have an enormous Camelia in the garden which is about 10 feet high by about 5 feet wide, I would like to move the whole thing into a pot, can you give me some advice on what to do as it Is beautiful and would be a shame to just uproot and leave it, as we are In the middle of landscaping the entire garden.

Bill replies...

It is going to be very difficult to lift a Camelia ten feet high and five feet wide and plant it in a container Kay.  Your shrub will have an enormous root system and the chances of survival will be very slim.  You say that you are in the process of landscaping your garden and it does seem a shame to move your Camelia and I am wondering if the shrub could be incorporated into your landscaping scheme - it would make a wonderful feature.  If the shrub does not 'fit' into your landscaping scheme I would recommend that you move your Camellia during the autumn time and you will need to find a position to plant it in your garden.

------

Alison Kelly asks...

I want to move some camelia bushes - when is the right time to do so and how would you suggest I go about it?

Bill replies...

I prefer transplanting Camelias in the Autumn time Alison when the soil is still warm but the Camelias are not actively growing.  At this time of year (early April) it is rather late to transplant but if you deem necessary that your Camelias need to be moved you will need to dig out a large root ball of soil and you will need to ensure that your plants are kept well watered over the Summer period.

------

John asks...

I have a ceanothus bush that I planted in the South East corner of my walled garden nearly three years ago. It has grown on well (about 4') but doesn't flower very well and I feel that it would benefit from more sunlight (it is in a North facing spot against a 12' wall and is therefore in a lot of shade). I have formed a new bed on the Western edge of my garden (no wall) and I would like to transplant it over there. Can I do this successfully without killing the plant and, if so, how should I do it?

Bill replies...

Ceanothus is a lovely flowering bush John and there are a number of varieties to choose from but I am afraid none of them like being moved and there is a very good chance if you try to transplant your Ceanothus you will lose it.  You would be far better buying another Ceanothus Bush and they do love growing in a very sunny sheltered position.

------

Steven asks...

Is February a good time to move a rose bush?

Bill replies...

If your Rose Tree is a very large bush Steven I would be inclined to wait until the Autumn time - rose trees are now coming into leaf and a large bush would certainly receive a check in growth.  If however your Rose tree is quite small and you dig out a large root ball you will be able to transfer your tree successfully

------

Bebhinn Murphy asks...

I would like to move a mature bay tree so as to save it from being bulldozed during construction works which will take place in the summer; how can I do this?

Bill replies...

I would try and transplant your Bay Tree (Lauris Noblis) early March time Bebhinn and you will need to dig out as large a root ball as physically possible.  You say that your Bay Tree is a mature tree and this worries me slightly as Bay Trees can grow to a height of 15 to 20 feet which would make it physically impossible for you to transplant.  If however your tree is approximately 6 to 10 feet high you may be successful if you have a large root ball of soil and, it if is possible at this stage to get a JCB on site you will find it a lost easier for your tree to be dug out by the JCB.

------

Samantha Beard asks...

We've just moved into a new house and there is a fully grown red robin bush.  We would like to move it to another part of the garden, but when would be the right time to move it?

Bill replies...

The time to move your Red Robin Bush (Photinia) is during March and this is not going to be an easy task with a fully grown tree so, you will need to ensure you dig out a large root ball of soil.  Your tree is bound to receive a shock and I am sure that you will get die back with some of the shoots and branches.  Photinia is a tough shrub and you can cut back into mature shoots and branches and it will start to shoot again and, if your tree is very large Samantha I would recommend  that you cut back the shoots and branches quite hard before replanting.

------

Ann Green asks...

I have hydrangeas that I would like to take out of garden and repot in plant pots. When is the best time to do this and can I seperate each hydrangea into two plants?

Bill replies...

Hydrangeas are now coming into leaf Ann and providing that you dig out a large root ball you will still be able to repot into large containers.  I personally would refrain from dividing Hydrangeas - they do suffer quite badly when you try to split them and you need to do this when they are completely dormant.  I feel that you would be better taking semi-hardwood cuttings August/September time, they are very easy to root and will grow into a a reasonable sized plant. 

------

Karen Siddons asks...

Hi Bill can I dig up and reposition a portion of a huge, well established boston ivy at this time of year (Feb) or should I take cuttings later on? Thanks

Bill replies...

Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus Tricuspidata) is a very vigorous climbing plant Karen and the autumn colour from the tinted bright red leaves makes this climber outstanding. It is going to be very difficult to dig up part of your plant for it to survive and the best method would be to propagate from cuttings or you can layer some of the stems.  Layering is the easiest method and this entails pinning some of the shoots into the soil. Cuttings can be taken from new young shoots during early summer and also as semi-hardwood cuttings in August/September time. The cuttings can be inserted in a mixture of peat and grit in small pots and with the soft wood cuttings you may need to cover with a polythene bag to cut down on transpiration loss.  The cuttings can be placed in a sheltered/shaded spot in the garden.

------

Beverly Cerexhe-Dicken asks...

I have a eucalyptus tree that I need to move. It is 4 years old and is about 15 feet high. We are having construction work done, and I have no choice but to move it to another part of the garden now. How should I do this, and how likely is it to survive a move? Thank you.

Bill replies...

It is not going to be easy Beverly to transplant a 15 foot Eucalyptus tree - your tree will have a very large root system and you will need to dig a large root ball to stand any chance of success.  I would be inclined before replanting to pollard/cut back your tree to approximately 6 to 8 feet.  The other alternative would be to coppice/cut back your tree to approximately 2 to 3 feet before transplanting and this is a regular practice with Eucalyptus to ensure that there are plenty of young vibrant shoots every year.  Cutting back your Eucalyptus before transplanting will reduce the need for water/nutrients

------

Karen Morley asks...

I have a large established fuschia bush in the garden and would like to move it to another part of the garden can you advise when it's best to move it and any advise on preparing the new ground etc.

Bill replies...

Your Fuschia Bush is obviously one of the hardy species Karen and if necessary these can be cut back hard early springtime and will shoot again and I feel you would be far better cutting your Fuschia back before transplanting.  This will cut down on transpiration loss when new shoots appear.  Regarding preparing the new soil, first and foremost you need to ensure that you did out a large root ball of soil when lifting your plant and the new hole for the Fuschia Bush must be large enough to accommodate all the roots freely.  After transplanting I would apply a top dressing of a base fertiliser to the soil surface - GrowMore or Fish Blood and Bone Meal would be ideal and you will also need to keep an eye on the watering over the summer months.

------

Jim White asks...

I have 4 Box Plants about 12 inches high unfortunately they are in the way of a new garden wall we are having built. Can I move them in the next few weeks without killing them, I don't want to lose them as they were all grown from cuttings by my father in law.

Bill replies...

You can transplant your Box Plants early March Jim and providing that you dig your plants up with a good sized root ball they should be fine.  You will need to keep an eye on the watering over the summer months and I would just give them a top dressing with a general base fertiliser early springtime.  Do try and avoid planting your Box in an exposed area as they do suffer from wind burn.

------

Neil McQuilllan asks...

I want to move two large Buxus balls, about 380cm circumference, 10 years old. What is the best way to do this? Will the plant stay together as a ball? Any tips would be most welcome.

Bill replies...

It is not going to be easy Neil to transplant your Box Tree and you will need to dig out a large root ball of soil and before planting I would work into the soil some well rotted manure which will help to retain the moisture.  The time to transplant is early Springtime and it is also important to throughout the Summer months to ensure that your trees are kept well watered.  Box trees do not like dry conditions.  You ask if your plants will stay as balls and providing your trees have not received a drastic shock they should be ok.

------

Eva asks...

I was bought a plum tree two years ago, I just placed it in a space, it has fruited, but I would like to move it a more convenient spot, it is a Victoria. Is this possible and when is the best time to try this?

Bill replies...

The time to transplant your Plum Tree Eva is during the dormant period providing the ground is not too wet and also not frosty.  January/February weather permitting would be ideal and you will need to ensure you dig out a good sized root ball when lifting.  Never plant in a frost pocket and Plums also prefer a well drained soil - they do not like wet feet.

------

Wendy Jones asks...

I have a one year old gunnera plant which doesn't look like it's doing well in its present location. I would like to move it to an old pond area that is no longer in use and I feel it may be happier there. When is the best time to move it? It still has leaves and looks like it has some new growth on it. Thank you

Bill replies...

I would move your Gunnera Wendy in the Spring and if your Gunnera is Gunnera Manicata you will need a large space for the plant to grow.  The leaves can grow from four to five feet across and to a height of six feet and as you are probably aware the Gunnera is a bog plant and will therefore require continuous moist conditions.  Gunneras are also frost sensitive and you will need to protect the crown and young shoots of the plant over the winter months - this can be done by placing straw into the centre of the crown (ensuring that you give a good covering) and then bending any old Gunnera leaves over the top of the straw.

------

June asks...

I should be moving in a few weeks I want to take some of my roses with me (didn't have much luck with cuttings in summer) is this possible at this time of year (November) we have had frost for a few nights already.

Bill replies...

The next fine day we have June I would dig up the roses which you wish to take with you with as much root ball as possible. I would then dig a trench in the garden and transfer/heal the roses into the trench. The roses will then be easily accessible for when you move. When transferring your roses, they can be placed in hessian sacking or large poly bags.  In your new garden dig a trench and again heal in your roses which will then give you time to plan where you are going to replant.

------

Claire Bacon asks...

When is the right time to move an azalea and how would I do it?

Bill replies...

Azaleas belong to the Rhododendron family but they are usually classed as a specific distinct group and, they can be deciduous or evergreen.  The deciduous Azaleas can grow to a height of six feet and include the popular Azalea Mollis hybrids.  The evergreen Azaleas are far smaller - they grow to a height of one/two feet and are low spreading.  Regarding the correct time for transplanting I find early Autumn time is ideal for both species.  But, you can also replant early Spring but it must be before the deciduous Azaleas come into leaf.  Azaleas prefer a sheltered spot in partial shade and need to be grown in a slightly acid soil. 

------

Nick Regan asks...

I have a pampas plant in the middle of my lawn and want to remove it. What is the best way to do it, or can you recommend a removal specialist?

Bill replies...

You will need to wait Nick for a reasonable period of dry weather before attempting to remove your Pampas Grass from the middle of your lawn - early Spring would be ideal. If you try and lift your plant during November - when conditions are wet and damp - you will do endless damage to your lawn.  The best way to lift your Pampas Grass, which is a tough plant to remove as the roots are very tight and spongy - is with  a sharp spade, pick for leverage and 'brute force'.  Regarding your question of hiring a 'removal specialist' I would contact a local Garden Contractor.  Good luck!

------

John Bradley asks...

I needed to move Virginia Creeper from the side of my bungalow. But how do I remove the suckers stuck on the brickwork and cement?

Bill replies...

One of the problems with any self clinging climbers - such as your Virginia Creeper John - is that they will start to cling and root into the mortar.  Virginia Creeper however does not create the same problem as other climbers such as Ivy - which can be very troublesome - but you will need to cut the shoots and remove from the mortar.  It is a thankless task but there is no easy way of removing these suckers.

------

Michael Mullen asks...

Kindly advise about transplanting clematis.

Bill replies...

The two important cultivating requirements when growing Clematis Michael is a) the roots need to be kept moist - especially during the growing period and b) for the vast majority of Clematis they need to be situated in a sunny position.  Therefore before transplanting your Clematis I would try and work in some well rotted farmyard manure or any organic material, which will not only improve the texture of the soil but will also assist in retaining moisture throughout the summer months.  Again with Clematis when transplanting you can plant four inches deeper i.e. the stem will be four inches below the soil surface.  This will encourage more young shoots to appear below soil level and also the formation of more roots and the main soil root ball will be four inches lower down in the soil which again will stop the roots drying out in the summer.  Also during the Spring/Summer months to avoid transpiration loss mulching around the top of the soil with any organic materials or well rotted manure will be beneficial.  Now is a good time to transplant your Clematis while the soil is still warm. 

------

Raymond De Munck asks...

I have a Yucca plant that I transplanted, that my sister gave me abut 4 years ago.  I have been trying to get information about it.  It has bloomed only once, about 3 years ago.  It is on the east side of the house.  The soil seems quite moist most of the time.  Would it be better to move it to a more sunny and less moist location?  Any information would help.  Thank you for your time and trouble

Bill replies...

Yuccas love a well drained and sunny position Raymond and if your soil is always moist and your plant is in a shaded position you will probably long term be better moving your plant to a sunny position.  You can transplant your Yucca in the Autumn while the soil is still warm or, the alternative is to wait until early Spring.

------

Cynthia Lonsdale asks...

Can I lift and transplant lavenders?

Bill replies...

Lavenders do not like being lifted and transplanted Cynthia and if your plants are quite large I would personally not even consider moving them.  However, Lavenders can be quite easily rooted from cuttings and if you really want to keep these plants it would be worthwhile to take cuttings.  You can still take cuttings at this time of year - they need to be approximately two inches long - remove the bottom leaves and the cuttings can then be planted around the side of a five inch pot in a fifty/fifty mixture of peat and grit sand - the cuttings can be placed either in a greenhouse or on a kitchen windowsill.

------

Andrew Longhurst asks...

I have recently had to transplant an 8ft Chusan Palm to stop it from being destroyed in a garden refurbishment. The person who had planted it had set roots in a circle of concrete, pretty much encircling the entire root system/ The roots when I reached them through the concrete, were very dry and compacted. I managed to get the plant to my garden where I have planted it in rich soil, fed and watered it. Whar do you think are its chances of survival? It's planted near a south west facing fence where it gets nice and warm.

Bill replies...

Your Chusan Palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei) will require a constant supply of water Andrew but with it being such a large Palm I am sure you will lose some of the lower leaves but providing you have managed to obtain a good root ball - and as you say it is planted in a rich organic soil - there is a good chance it will survive.

------

Pamela Leach asks...

We have some lovely evening primose, but work is due to start and we may lose them, can we do anything to save them please?

Bill replies...

Oenothera - the Evening Primrose is a lovely plant and the masses of yellow flowers which they produce always ensures a magnificent display throughout the summer and I can understand Pamela why you are so keen to save your plants.  What you need to do is to lift your plants with as much root ball as possible and then transplant into new position - the plants will require a well drained soil and sunny position.  Evening Primrose is quite a tough plant and providing you ensure they are well watered I am sure they will survive.

------

Joan Weeks asks...

I have five purple aliums in my garden which have just finished flowering, I want to move them for next year. Do I dry them out first or just replant them? They were quite a talking point!

Bill replies...

It has been a wonderful year for the ornamental Aliums Joan and they are certainly becoming a popular plant.  You can plant your Aliums straightaway providing you have let the seed heads die off naturally.

------

Phyllis Caruana asks...

I have a miniature willow tree approx. 2 years old. I want to replant it in my back garden as it has grown too big for my front, and I want it to hang over my pond. Thank you.

Bill replies...

The time to replant your Willow Phyllis is in the Autumn time when your tree is dormant.  You may find due to transplanting die back of some of the shoots when they come into leaf in the Spring but I would not worry too much - all you need to do is cut these shoots back.

------

Shirley Read asks...

Can I move my 10 year old Holly approx 7-8ft tall and 3-4ft spread to my new home in September? The garden is very sheltered. The Holly could be replanted the same day.

Bill replies...

September is quite a good month for transplanting your Holly Tree but it is vitally important to ensure you dig out a good size root ball.  I would also wrap the roots in hesian sacking or similar material to avoid soil loss - keeping the sacking moist would again be beneficial.  A sheltered shady spot will be ideal for your Holly but it is vitally important to ensure your tree is well watered for at least twelve months - if not longer - after transplanting.

------

Marion Howard asks...

Can I move a fairly large escallonia,"variety Exoniensis", growing by the coast and about three years old? I would like to move it now to my neighbour's garden as she has a large gap to fill in an exposed area of her garden. She is prepared to cosset it with wind breaks and lots of tlc!

Bill replies...

It is not going to be easy to lift an established plant such as your Escallona Marion and you will need to ensure that you dig out a large root ball and if you do decide to move your Escallona I would wait until the autumn time.  I often feel that in exposed coastal areas you are far better planting container grown plants of a medium size as they tend to adapt better to the exposed conditions and as mentioned above I feel that your Escallona will suffer die back conditions if transplanted.

------

Lorraine McLeod asks...

Please can you tell me how to go about moving a rose bush. We have a beautiful yellow rose but it now fights for sunlight due to an apple tree nearby. When would be the best time to move it and what is the best method to transfer it to its new location? It's such a lovely rose and we don't want to lose it. Thank you for your time.

Bill replies...

You will need to wait until the Autumn time before moving your rose bush Lorraine.    Try and lift you rose with as much root as possible and when transplanting it is important that the hole is large enough to allow the roots to sit comfortably and where the rose has been grafted needs to be just above soil level.  You must ensure the soil is well firmed around your rose bush and any large rose shoots can be trimmed back lightly to avoid them blowing in the wind.

------

R Armstrong asks...

I moved a 10ft conifer in March, it started to turn brown from the bottom in June, I  started watering as soon as I noticed. Will it recover or will it need to be replaced?

Bill replies...

Transplanting a 10ft Conifer is not easy at the best of times and you would need to ensure that you have a very large root ball of soil when lifting.  It is also vital that you keep your plant well watered after replanting and most probably the reasons why the needles are dropping on your Conifer is the shock your Conifer will have received when transplanting - lack of water and the recent high temperatures.  Also, with it being such a large tree the chances of recovery are quite slim.

------

Sheila asks...

Can I put a very large yucca plant outside during summer months? It also has brown on the tips of the leaves.  It has been in the same pot for years.

Bill replies...

There is no reason at all why you can't put your plant outside Sheila - in fact a breath of fresh air will do your Yucca a world of good.  It will however need to be placed in a sunny but sheltered spot.  The browning of the leaf edges will have most probably been caused by dry atmosphere in the winter months caused by central heating - this happens to quite a number of foliage house plants.  Mist spraying the leaves with tepid water approximately once a day will help to eleviate this problem by increasing humidity.  Your Yucca plant will need regular watering during the summer months and a liquid feed with a balanced fertiliser will be beneficial.  Over the winter months try to avoid over-watering your plant - they prefer to be slightly dry over this period.

If you feel that your Yucca plant needs re-potting I would wait until early Springtime.

------

Daniel Smith asks...

My mum has an Acer, in a large pot (not sure what kind but it seems to be out-growing it), could you please tell me when we can either re-pot it or move it, should it be at a certain time of year? Thank you.

Bill replies...

If you are careful when re-potting you could re-pot your mother's Acer now Daniel.  However personally I find the best time for re-potting Acers is early Springtime before they have come into leaf.  Acer prefer a slightly acid soil so you will need to use a ericaceus compost.

------

Dorothy Law asks...

I have a Phormium, Pink Flamingo, in a circular bed which is now far too big. Shall I have it removed and if so are the roots very deep? It has been in situ for about eight years.

Bill replies...

If you feel you need to move your Phormium Dorothy the time to lift your plant is Autumn or early Spring.  I would not advise moving it this time of year.  It is going to be quite a task to dig out your plant and I am sorry but there is not an easy solution that I can suggest.  You have not mentioned what you intend to do with your plant  - if you intend moving it to another part of the garden you can reduce the size of the plant by dividing the Phormium into smaller pieces - which would make it far more manageable.

------

Janet asks...

I have a large Red Robin photinia shrub which I moved last year.  It seemed to be OK last year after moving but is now losing all its leaves.  It is growing new shoots at the end of each branch but it looks very straggly.  Is there anything that can be done?  It's supposed to give us privacy from neighbours but it's not working!

Bill replies...

It is important when you move any large shrub to ensure you keep it well watered for at least twelve months and it could be Janet that your Photinia is suffering from being transplanted.  To ensure new shoots appear from the base you are going to have to prune your Photinia hard back which will encourage new and vigorous shoots to regenerate.  One of the problems with Photinia is that the shrub does quite often lose its lower leaves and is not the ideal shrub to use as a screen.

------

Rita Clark asks...

My holly bush that was brought from my previous garden is losing leaves that have turned brown, I have fed it with growmore and kept it well watered. Please can you help?

Bill replies...

It could be the shock of transplanting your Holly Bush which has caused the leaves to brown Rita.  It could also be the very hard and prolonged frost that we had this winter and, what usually happens is the leaves on the Holly will start to drop during the summer months.  There is not much you can do at the moment except to ensure that your Holly Bush is kept well watered and there is no need to apply any further fertiliser.

------

Chrissie Smith asks...

I have a large camellia with a spread and height of about 4 feet growing in a 14 ins container. Do you think I should transfer it to a larger pot, it seems quite happy at the moment and full of buds. If I do have to transfer it, when would be the best time?

Bill replies...

One of my favourite shrubs is the Camellia and yours Chrissie seems in prime condition.  The time to re-pot your Camellia is after flowering - if you re-pot your Camellia when it is in bud by disturbing the soil some of the buds may drop off.  Camellias require an acid soil and your plant will have to be re-potted in an ericaceous compost, and it is important  to keep your plant well watered during the summer months when the new buds are being formed.  You mention that you are not sure whether your plant needs re-potting.  I personally feel that a plant which is four foot high and has a four foot spread would be better in a larger container.  This would ensure that the plant is more stable and less chance of your Camellia 'drying-out'.

Good luck with your re-potting!

------

Marianne asks...

We are moving in the next few weeks, and there are plants in the garden that we would like to take with us, some are in full bloom, will they die, and how is the best way to move them?

Bill replies...

It is possibly the worst time of the year you could have chosen to move your plants Marianne and, if you intend to move the plants you will to need try and dig them up with as much root ball as possible.  You will need to wrap the roots in a hessian sacking or similar material, to protect the soil and roots and to keep the roots moist.  I would leave it as late as possible before lifting your plants and after lifting keeping your plants in a shady spot would also be beneficial.  Your chances of success will depend on the types of plants you are moving - any herbecious plants and small shrubs should survive but, you may have difficulty with large trees and also shrubs.

------

Paul Whitehouse asks...

In February we moved house and took a lot of plants and resited them in the new garden. All of the plants took except the three palms which are now dying one at a time. Is there anything I can do to keep them alive. Almost all of the leaves are brown in one of the big plants and the other is going browner by the day.

Bill replies...

Quite a number of Palms have died this year Paul due to the very cold temperatures we have experienced and also the piercing the cold Westerly winds.  I also feel your problem could have stemmed from lifting your Palms in February - the 'shock' of transplanting your Palms coupled with the cold weather I am sure will have caused the leaves to start to yellow and die back.  My only suggestion is to ensure your plants do not dry out and to spray the remaining leaves during hot weather to cut down transpiration loss.

------

Susie Rowbotham asks...

We moved two years ago to a house with an empty garden. It had been totally neglected for years. It was completely replanted then and is doing very well but it is becoming rather crowded as all the plants grow and we would like to move one or two plants.  Is it possible to move a smallish white lilac tree without doing too much damage?

Bill replies...

I would be inclined to wait until the Autumn time before moving any of your plants Susie - if you lift and transplant plants during the summer months when they are in full leaf they will receive a tremendous set-back, and the increased transpiration loss from the leaves will cause die-back of the shoots.  I am slightly worried that by lifting some of the plants you will also damage the roots of nearby plants. If at all possible I would wait until Autumn when plants such as your Dwarf Lilac will have shed its leaves and be dormant.

------

Anne Whale asks...

I have a phormioum tenax which I wish to move, can you please tell me what the root system is like as I would like to move it with out too much damage.

Bill replies...

Your Phormioum will have quite a large root system Anne and it is important to ensure you dig out a large root ball when lifting - you will be ok to transplant your Phormioum during October but otherwise I would wait until early Spring and over the Summer months your Phormioum needs to be kept well watered.

last updated: 16/05/2008 at 10:57
created: 23/10/2006

You are in: Lancashire > Nature > Features > Ask the gardener: Moving plants



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy