Time To Move Your Shrubs And Solar Garden Lights
The spring season is overcrowded with gardening work, and in some years the soil remains wet and cold for a long time. By contrast, in most years, the autumn period is a pleasant time to work in the garden, and it is possible to relieve some of the pressure of the Spring rush by doing as much of the planting as is possible at this time. Soil-moisture and temperature conditions are ideal from about mid-September through October and sometimes into mid-November, but there are fewer weeks of good transplanting weather in the north of the UK.
Time to Plant Evergreens
Evergreens have completed and matured their growth by late August, and since they are always moved with a ball of soil, early Autumn is an excellent time to plant them. They represent a considerable investment, and should be given the best of care in handling. The planting of evergreens should be completed by the end of October, as there is the possibility that unseasonable weather will occur before the plants become established in their new location. Since evergreens are always in leaf, and are constantly drawing moisture from the soil, they suffer a shock if new roots cannot grow because of frozen soil, and they will gradually turn brown, and die by Spring.
The Essentials of Planting
The manner of planting an evergreen is fairly simple; yet certain details should not be slighted. The hole should always be wider and as deep as the ball of soil. If the soil needs improvement, humus, or peat-moss, and sand, if it is a clay soil, should lie mixed with the topsoil, and also forked into the subsoil. The amount of organic matter to use varies with the type of soil, but the rate is about one-fourth humus or peat to three-fourths soil. After firming the soil in the hole, to prevent the plant from settling, measure the depth of the root bull, and have the hole only slightly deeper. Carefully lower the evergreen into the hole; centre it, then loosen the burlap around the ball and roll it down, but do not remove it.
Draw some of the mixed topsoil around the ball, firm it, and, at the same time, check to see that the plant stands erect. Add more soil, and tamp it until the hole is filled about two-thirds. (A piece of two by four timber makes a good tamper.) For the initial soaking, and to settle the soil, give each plant at least a bucketful of water and, a day or two later, water the evergreen a second time. This second watering is important in a dry period, but is unnecessary in cool, moist weather. Draw the remaining soil around the plant, but leave a slight depression for subsequent watering. Some of this can be done in your shed or workshop so use this if you can.
Evergreens that are transplanted in the Autumn are benefited by a mulch to conserve moisture and to prevent rapid changes in soil temperatures during the Winter. Good mulching material is usually a scarce item, particularly in the small garden but landscape lighting still abound. Straw and sawdust can be used, and coarse leaves (oak and sycamore), held in place with a few twiggy branches, will do, if nothing else is available. Still other mulching materials are tobacco stems, spent hops and ground corncobs. Sawdust may be purchased in any industrial city, and is sold by the sack or truck load.
Our gardens would lack interest in Winter if there were no evergreens to relieve the monotony of the bare trees and shrubs. There are so many kinds, however, one must choose wisely to secure the type best suited to a location and not one that will outgrow its allotted space in a few years. If only the juniper group were considered, one would have a choice of dwarf and creeping kinds, like the Andorra, Bar Harbor, Japanese, Green Sargent or Waukegan junipers. If plants of intermediate height are needed, the Pfitzer, Savin or Vonehron junipers may be used; and for tall, columnar plants for accent or windbreaks, one can use forms of the native red cedar like the Burk, Canaert, Keteleer and Silver varieties.
Japanese yew in its various forms is an excellent evergreen that has become very popular in recent years. It is hardy, is seldom troubled by insects or diseases, and will grow equally well in sun or shade. It should always be planted in good soil that is well-drained.
For Hedges and Specimen Use
For larger evergreens to be grown as specimen plants or in hedges and wind-breaks, one has a choice of fir, hemlock, pine and spruce. Pine and spruce are popular, followed by fir and for a semi-shaded area where there is ample moisture, hemlock will succeed.
The Autumn planting season need not be confined to the evergreens, for there are numerous shrubs that can be moved in the garden or obtained from the nursery when they have matured. Since the plants are dormant, they may be planted as long as the soil is not frozen. They, too, need care in planting in good soil, water to settle the soil and a mulch during the first Winter.
Since lilacs grow so early in the Spring, it is better to plant them in the Autumn so that they may be established in their new location before growth commences. Mayb euse your potting shed to give you somewhere to work whilst doing this.
Everyone associates the common lilac with some old farmstead where it has grown unattended for many years. Such a lilac is well established, but newly-planted lilacs need watching the first year for they are the first of the shrubs to wilt in a dry spell.
For Variety and Interest
If a hedge is to be planted, one is faced with the problem of what type to use. Will it be an evergreen or deciduous hedge and what is to be its ultimate height? Barberries and privets have been the two commonest plant materials used in the past, but there are others that can be trained into a suitable hedge. Some of the following are suggested: Acanthopanax sieboldianus, for sun or shade; Euonymus alatus, for its beautiful Autumn coloring; Euonymus loiautschovicus (E. patens) for its fine glossy, green leaves, and Carpinus betulus and Viburnum lantana for tall hedges.
Soil Preparation for Spring Planting
If the hedge is to be an evergreen, then the Autumn would be an excellent time to prepare the soil for the hedge so that it can be quickly planted in the Spring. Much time is also gained if the soil is prepared for those plants which one intends to plant in the Spring. We know, from the experiences of many gardeners, that Spring is the ideal season for assured success in moving evergreen hedges. Some of the choicest plants are in this group and the Autumn season is not too soon to prepare the sites for them, and avoid all that additional work in Spring, when there are so many things to be done. Trees usually reserved for Spring-planting arc beech, birch, dogwood, magnolia, oak, redbud, red maple, silver-bell, sweet gum, sycamore and tulip tree. In the shrub group we have abelia, buddleia, hibiscus, pyracantha and vitex. Broad-leaved evergreens include the evergreen barberries, boxwood, hollies, ‘cue thoe, mahonia, mountain laurel, pieris, rhododendrons and the leatherleaf viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophyllum.