Stripping the Garden

Millie shows us how to move plants successfully whilst helping a friend renovate their garden

Presenter: Millie Ross, 12/08/2017

SERIES 28 – Episode 24

Millie shows how you can remove and salvage plants to relocate them

Albert Koomen, a producer on Gardening Australia, gets to see a lot of nice gardens around the country. Initially he planted a cottage-style garden in his home at Deer Park in Melbourne’s west. Inspired by the gardens he sees on the job, plants have been added along the way but he now feels it’s time to scale back and start again – this time with an Australian native garden. Millie is with him to help get things started.

A lot of plants are going to be removed and given away to friends, family and co-workers from Gardening Australia. Although there are no guarantees that plants will survive being dug up and re-planted, there are things you can do to improve the chances of success.

Removing Deciduous Plants

  1. Winter is the perfect time to move deciduous plants.
  2. Pruning the plant before you move it will help reduce stress. Remove any old growth on the tree and cut back any whippy growth to encourage more fruiting buds.
  3. Clear any irrigation and dripper lines from around the tree.
  4. Using a sharp spade, dig out and around the trunk of the tree using vertical cuts. Work your way all around the root ball before attempting to lift the tree.
  5. Gently prise the root ball free then place the tree straight into a bucket of water to hydrate the plant and remove any soil.
  6. Inspect the roots and remove any damaged parts by making clean cuts with a sharp pair of secateurs.
  7. Fill a hessian bag with moistened coir peat (available from nurseries) moistened soil or compost and place the roots of tree into the bag, keeping them covered.

Removing Evergreens

Citrus plants will not do well if bare-rooted like the deciduous plants, so the options are to replant it elsewhere in the garden, or dig it up and plant it in a pot to give it time to recover before being planted out in its new home.

  1. Remove between one-third to a half of the growth to reduce shock. Think ‘balance between roots and shoots.’
  2. Prune out an excess growth in the centre of the plant to allow air and light into the plant.
  3. Using a sharp spade, dig vertically around the root ball of the plant.
  4. Once all the way around, push the spade in and under the root ball and lever it out. Don’t forget to take care of your back!
  5. You’ll need a pot that is a ‘snug fit’ – one that can accommodate the root ball without damaging the roots but not too large where the roots will get cold. Put some good quality potting mix in the pot and have this standing by close to the tree. Gently lift the plant out, keeping as much soil as possible around the roots and place in the pot.
  6. Backfill with soil and water in well.

Perennial Plants

  1. Fill some polystyrene boxes or plastic containers with good quality potting mix.
  2. Dig out the plants keeping as much soil around the roots as possible.
  3. Place the plants in the containers. Don’t be afraid to pack the plants closely together in the boxes if you are planning to plant them out soon.

As one garden ends, it’s just the beginning of another and if you prepare plants correctly to be moved, you’ll give them the best chance of success in their new home.

Download Fact Sheet PDF

Information contained in this fact sheet is a summary of material included in the program. If further information is required, please contact your local nursery or garden centre.


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