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Moving advice

Hello,

I would like to move all my plants out of a border and improve the soil as it’s very clay based.

When is the best time to move the plants to pots temporarily, improve the soil and re plant?

Thanks

Tom

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,433
    It would depend on the type of plant, but generally speaking, this is a good time of year as plants are becoming dormant. If they're still growing strongly, it would be best to wait a few weeks, but in cooler areas, it's possible to move them anyway, providing you're careful with lifting and potting them. Keeping them in a slightly shady spot will also help as it reduces the stress of coping with heat if there's still a lot of top growth. Just make sure they don't dry out too much, but the shade will also help with that.

    You can then improve the soil and replant, assuming conditions are suitable when you get to that point. Frozen or waterlogged soil isn't suitable for planting :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,837
    Depends on how long you take to re-invigorate the soil. If only out for a short time then now is as good as any as the soil will still be warm enough to replant. Otherwise early Spring, once the plants have begun to shoot so you can see where they are.
  • I would get them out, improve the soil and replant the same day. I’d pick a dry spell or day at least.

    Thanks for the replies
  • ElmozElmoz Posts: 30
    edited September 2020
    I also want to do this but wasn't planning on it until spring. Maybe that will change depending on advice here! Plan was to lay out a tarpaulin to put all the plants on whilst I dug the soil over and added compost.
    When I first planted the border, I only added organic matter to the planting holes, so that now filling in any spaces in between becomes extremely difficult because the soil is so hard. In hindsight I should probably have added a whole bag of compost and forked it in.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,433
    @Gaijin - if it's a big border with lots of plants, you could save yourself a lot of effort by just adding compost around the plants as a mulch. It'll work down into the soil, often helped by worms, over winter. 
    If you do that every so often throughout the year, your soil will improve. You can use well rotted manure, leaf mould or home made compost too. Any organic matter will improve the soil. 
    If your soil is dry and hard, wait until you've had some decent rainfall, and then add the compost etc.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,628
    I'd go with that too.  Leave the plants where they are and spread a 2 to 3 inch/5 to 8cm layer of well-rotted manure and/or compost all over the beds.   Best to wait till after some good autumn rainfall so the soil is moist and most of the plants have gone over and can be cut back - except those you want for decorative seed heads and winter interest.

    I have a friend with a large garden - 5 acres - on heavy clay and he does this every December, barrowing an entire lorry load of council compost all over his beds.  The first beds planted and thus treated are now very rich and fertile with very good soil and no digging.  
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ElmozElmoz Posts: 30
    Fairygirl said:
    @Gaijin - if it's a big border with lots of plants, you could save yourself a lot of effort by just adding compost around the plants as a mulch.
    I would certainly do this if I didn't want to swap plants around into different borders and change their positions within the border. I didn't do any mulching last year because I didn't have any compost. In March I got some shredded tree branches and used those as a mulch but they just went mouldy and made it the borders look messy. Maybe if I'd done it in Autumn it would have been ok. I think someone else might have mentioned this Autumn mulching with wood chip and posted a link about it - the James Wong one in the Telegraph.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,628
    Wood chip wold for mulching is usually chipped bark and decorative in the sense that it has a good colour and is graded to size and has been stored a while to make sure it has no nasty pathogens.   It's usually sourced from conifers with pine being the quickest to rot down and cedar being the longest lasting.

    Shredded tree branches could be anything and you also run the risk of introducing honey fungus to your garden if you don't know it's clean.    
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ElmozElmoz Posts: 30
    I applied a 10-15cm layer over the surface of beds containing both mature shrubs and smaller herbaceous plants in the autumn. Then, when I scraped the surface of the mulch the next spring I found that the compacted London clay I had struggled with for years was, as if by magic, a friable, dark crumb
    Nowhere in the article does it say people have to purchase a specific type of wood chip. Are you saying it is the beyond the means of your average gardener to produce such a material on their own by just shredding tree branches?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,628
    Two different media.  Chipped bark is just that whereas chipped wood is the whole branch/tree and can be risky if you don't know the health of the wood source.   If it worked for yu fine but there are caveats of which you need to be aware.

    We have made our own wood chippings from ash trees we have had cut down because they were too close to the house and shedding branches in every storm.  They may well have been suffering from ash dieback, a relatively new disease, so we have composted them for nearly 3 years before putting them anywhere near our beds.

    In the meantime we bought in a shipment of organic horse poo to improve our soil because there have been widespread cases in recent years of manures and composts being contaminated by aminopyralid, a selective weedkiller used on pastures and then turning up in allotments and gardens where the resulting "harvest' has been sold for soil improvement.   Failed crops all round.



    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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