THE LAZY GARDENER: Time to transplant in the garden

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If you are rearranging your garden and need to move any shrubs then now is the ideal time while they are in their resting stage. Dig the new planting hole about a foot bigger than the root ball of the shrub about to be moved.

This has to be a guess and can always be dug a little more later on if needed. Break up the soil at the bottom of the planting hole but do not add any organic matter; if you do the roots will only grow as far as this new soft material but will be loathe at coming out the other end. This can create an unstable root system that could well blow over in the wind.

Dig up the shrub leaving as much root ball as possible; lifting it can be a problem so enlist some extra help. Place the root ball onto large plastic compost bags and drag it over to its new home.

Place the shrub into the planting hole at the same depth or even slightly higher than it was before. If you have to transport over a longer distance then carefully wrap the root ball into a large piece of hessian and secure it firmly in place, this will keep the soil and roots intact while transporting it.

Water during and after backfilling to eliminate any air pockets around the roots. Once again only use the soil removed to backfill the hole, never add any soil improvers or manure as this will discourage the roots from growing beyond the planting hole.

It is also a good time to plant bare rooted specimens. These are only on sale during autumn and winter and are much cheaper than container grown plants, although these can be planted at any time of the year.

Clear leaves off the lawn and the quickest way to do this is to run the mower over them. The cutting action of the mower will help shred the leaves and make them quicker to rot down, then empty the grass box into black bags. Any leaves that have fallen onto your borders can be left there.

Remove any dead leaves that have fallen into the garden pond before they start to rot. If you are gathering leaves up in a large net, leave them on the side of the pond for a day or so to allow any creatures that are hiding in them to have the chance to return to the water. Once the pond is clear it is a good idea to cover it with some netting to prevent any more leaves or debris falling into the water.

There are chemical treatments available for the management of algae on ponds. Some do work for a limited period. For a more effective control, however, use barley straw, roughly chopped up and placed into net bags. It is better to use several small bags rather than one large one. Put some weights in the bags and carefully lower them just below the surface of the water. Lavender clippings are also effective but are more suited to larger ponds. It will take up to two months before this treatment starts to take effect. Replace them when the straw or lavender has decayed and starts to turn black.