Usually it’s only recommended to move perennial plants in the autumn or the early spring. This is because in the summer they are experiencing a high growth rate, while in the winter the frost could damage the roots. Unfortunately, we can’t schedule our home moves in York around the perennial hibernation clock and so to minimise any damage, we’ve put together some tips on how to move plants any time of the year.
If you are moving house in autumn, try to move the plants when you trim them back for the winter. For example if you have:
- Box Hedging
And other plants that need bi annually trimming, it’s best to do this all in one go. The cutting back or pruning of a plant starts a new cycle. Often we hope it spurs some new growth before the frosts set in in order to look forward to a healthy robust plant the following year.
If you are pruning roses, remember to always prune at angle to minimise any disease taking hold with a blunt cropped edge.
Lavenders are usually pruned in August, depending on where you live in the UK. In York this is usually the case, further south and the pruning may come later in the year. It’s best to prune right back to about 8cms for lavender. The same can be done with sage, oregano and other herbs to ensure they don’t turn woody.
Moving Plants in Summer
If you are moving plants in summer be aware that your plant will be growing quite rapidly. The roots will be spreading and laying firm foundations for the following years. This is why, when digging up the plant, it is imperative that you take extra soil with you, at least 6 inches from where the roots stop in order to allow the plant to continue to grow.
In summer you don’t have to invest in any fancy plant pots, as long as you dig up enough soil you can use a bin liner or supermarket shopping bag to store the roots to move the plant. Just be careful that you don’t bash the roots when moving.
Top Tip: Always use a fork when digging up established plants as you have less chance of damaging the roots.
When you do arrive at your new home, make the hole even bigger. Add some relevant compost and then gently insert the plant. It can help if you plant it a little lower than it was, as the base may produce new roots as it gets used to its new home. Water well and then water every single day for a week.
Moving Plants in Winter
It can be difficult to move plants in winter, not just because of frozen ground but because many plants tend to disappear as they hibernate leaving little on top of the soil.
If your ground is frozen, try using hot water bottles on the surface to thaw out the first few centimetres. In this country it’s rare that a frost penetrates deep into the ground so once you are past the surface you’ll find it’s quite easy to dig.
Always leave ample room, and take more soil than you think you’ll need. You can transport plants in plastic bags again but you may need some fleece or old sheets to wrap around the roots before adding the bag. This will minimise the chance of frost.
When you replant your winter perennials at your new home, dig a very big hole. Don’t leave the hole exposed as this could prompt frost to form on the surface which could harm your plant. Add compost and plant straight away, with minimum disruption. Your plant shouldn’t need watering, as it will be in hibernation mode, however the ground should be moist.
We can help with the garden removal, but once the dust has settled it’s up to you to survey the plants. No matter what time of year it is, keep an eye on your plants after a move as you will have new soil types, different shaded areas and new pests to contend with. You and your plants have a lot of new ground to get used to with your new garden.