Enrich your soil to give plants a boost

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THIS is the ideal time for planting new roses, trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous as the ground is still warm and workable.

Many of these container-grown plants are nurtured in an organic compost that containes peat or peat alternatives such as coir, wood waste of bark. When roots have been used to this medium they are reluctant to move out into mineral soils in the garden unless there is some help from the planer by improving the condition of the soil by adding organic matter.

To encourage the quick establishment of these new plants, improve and enrich the soil by adding some of the many composts available which have been specially formulated for the purpose. These composts are ideal when introducing new plants, dividing and replanting hardy herbaceous which have become too large or are overcrowding other plants, and moving established shrubs to another part of the garden.

Mix the new compost 50/50 with the back-fill garden soil to improve structure, enhance water retention and thereby improve root development. Also suitable is your own home-made garden compost which will have been produced in a bin specially for the purpose, or, if ample space is available, woooden frameworks sited in a spare part of the garden. There is also a product available at garden centres labelled ‘Soil Conditioner’ for mixing and so improving garden soil.

Now for some tips when planting a container-grown addition to your garden. When into its new home, the soil level should be the same as when the plant was in the container.

A new rose bush cannot replace and old one in the same spot unless a large amount of the original soil is removed and fresh compost/soil put in its place. Tease apart some of the roots around the base so that they are encouraged to spread out into the new soil.

Clumps of hardy herbaceous perennials can get too large, start dying in th centre and not flowering as well as they should. When this happens, lift the entire plant and divide it up, reoplanting only the fresh growth around the outside, discarding the old and weak growth in the centre. This rejuvenation can be done now.

– JAKE COLTMAN, Hawick News gardening correspondent