Q: I have a mock orange, a large deciduous shrub, which has grown too big for its space. I now hope to move it to another site. When is the best time to tackle this job?
A: Any time between now and March should be fine for the task – but it does mean quite a bit of hard work.
Dig a wide-ish trench around the shrub and then cut underneath to try to create as big a rootball as you can lift and carry (Tip; Get a muscular friend or two to help with the removal).
Break off any super-resistant roots and then ease a large, heavy-duty tarpaulin or groundsheet under the rootball, pulling it out at the other side to form to form a sort of sling.
Tie the top with rope to encase the entire rootball and its soil.
Fasten hefty wooden post to the top of the sling and then get those muscular friends to it to its new home – a pre-prepared, well-dug hole big enough to accommodate the shrub with a little bit of room to spare.
Remove the sling, replant the shrub, filling in any air pockets among the roots, and pack down the soil.
It may pay to tie the shrub to a couple of posts to protect it from strong winds until it has grown more root to anchor itself securely.