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Dig This.

If you're going to move bushes or small trees at all this year, this is the perfect time to do it.

With low light levels and cool temperatures at the moment, everything in the garden is at its most dormant point.

Moving stuff now, whether small bushes or partly-grown trees, will hold back the plants a lot less than doing it at any other time of the year.

Prune back all fruit bushes by at least a third before moving them then dig around the roots as far away from the central trunk of the plant as possible, remembering that you've got to lift it once you've dug it out.

I usually go for a circle about 12 inches in radius from the centre, and dig downwards at an angle towards the centre.

At the same time try and dig up as much of the plant's root system as possible.

Dig out the new hole to the same depth as the bush is coming from and put the plants straight into the ground, covering the roots and watering down the backfilled soil even if the ground is wet.

Trample down the ground to keep the roots in place.

It used to be thought best to fill the planting hole with well-rotted manure, etc, but that theory is now in tatters.

Apparently, if you make the planting hole too rich the roots are reluctant to grow outside of that zone and spend all their energy in the `good stuff' and never develop a wider root system.

PETER HORROCKS
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2006
Words:257
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