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Plant disruption - Spring or Autumn

I have spent many years creating a full and colourful low maintenance garden which is now quite mature.  Now, the local council in their wisdom want to dig it all up to remediate traces of lead in the soil from the lead works that was here 200 years ago - just incase any pregnant woman or child eats the soil in the future (irrespective of the people over the past 200 years)  They propose to come in the Spring but I am thinking the Autumn may be better for disturbing plants and shrubs as they are dormant.  They say they will lift them, remediate the soil and re plant.  My question is can anyone advise me on what season would be the best for this to be done to give the plants the best chance of survival, either the growing season or the dormant season.  Thanks very much



  • I'm no expert, but I would have thought the dormant season, from everything I read about when to transplant etc.  

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,416

    Knowing councils I'd go for autumn as their spring could be May and you'd be struggling to keep up with watering all summer

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    Isn't there any other areas  they can test the soil without coming into private you live in a rural area if not are there any parks they can find out what they need?

  • chicachica Posts: 252

    oh dear,think im in the wrong place havent been on this site for about a year,cos i got quite addicted to it but now i would love to come back but forgotten how to do it so be gentle with me,i still remember some of you,xxxxxxx

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009

    Lead can have serious effects on human fertility and brain functions so I wouldn't dismiss the need for this work out f hand but maybe a soil test of your own might confirm the need for it to be done.    The RHS offers a soil testing service to members.  The joining fee is equivalent to an annual GW magazine subscription and gets you a monthly magazine plus free access to their gardens and advice service..

    Autumn is the safest time to move or disrupt the majority of plants except grasses and hstas which can sulk and maybe die.   If you have those, I would lift and pot them up yourself and keep them somewhere sheltered while the work is going on.

    Take photos of your garden before any work starts and keep an eye on what does and doesn't come back in case you need to complain.

    Good luck.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • If your soil is contaminated by lead it can seriously affect the value of your property.  It's also not safe to consume vegetables/fruit grown in it - there are serious health issues - so if the council are prepared to sort it out I'd jump at the chance. 

    To be honest I think I'd fit in with whatever timescale the council can offer - they rarely stick to them anyway - and use any ensuing damage as an opportunity to re-vamp the garden a bit - every cloud has a silver lining and all that image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    lindylou most of our frnot garden was dug up at our instigation to replace lead pipes, in spring, i was pregnant actually! all the herbaceous plants grew back perfectly hope that makes you feel better

  • I would agree with Autumn as well. Gives plants time to set down roots whilst the soil is still warm enough, before the weather gets really cold.

  • Thank you so much all of you for all your replies, they are very helpful.  The council say they are coming in the Spring but they said that last year, and then they said this Autumn and it isn't happening so it could be years yet. If we don't let them do it they will slap a contamination order on property which would make it very difficult to sell in the future.  However I have turned this stressful situation into a positive - they can dig out and get rid of any dead and old stuff I no longer want and I will also have a new garden full of fresh soil.  It is just there are a lot plants I don't want to lose.  I think I will state to them they either come April or October full stop. Thanks you again all. image


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009

    Take cuttings of treasures so you have replacements just in case.  You can always swap any you don't need with friends or sell them at a local charity fair.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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