Get new roots growing as quickly as possible

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

I suppose the question when to plant is one of the most controversial ones we have on the coast.

The most important factor is to get the new roots growing as quickly as possible so that the plants get hold of the soil in their new quarters. For this warmth and moisture are needed.

The worst and longest period of gales and stormy weather on the coast is undoubtedly from October to March and evergreen trees and shrubs have no way of escaping the severe punishment they endure when bitter winds suck the life out of their leaves before their roots have had time to take hold.

In the garden press it always mentions that evergreens can be planted anytime in the autumn through to March or April but my experience is that an evergreen planted out in a windy, coastal garden in autumn has to face many months of exposure to fierce, battering winds and drenching salt spray unless adequate shelter can be provided.

The shrubs will almost certainly have come from a more secluded place in some inland nursery and these trees and shrubs taken from the shelter of a nursery row are not ideal for the drastic change to an exposed part of the coast in autumn.

They may or may not survive the winter but in any case no new growth will be made and the plants will bear little resemblance in the spring to those which came from the nursery in autumn.

By mid-April in the west the roughest weather should be over and plants have several months of growing weather and spring showers ahead in which to get established, especially if given the treatment of fertilised peat well watered in around the plants.

After a salty gale a good drenching with fresh water is very beneficial to the foliage. Apply this to all the plants in the garden, especially conifers, if you see the salty deposit the wind leaves on a car. If this deposit is left on conifers they will turn brown. It is not the wind itself but the salt coating it leaves behind that actually browns conifers.

But, browning can also be caused by aphids sucking the sap of conifers. To discover if this is the problem take a look at a conifer with a magnifying glass and if you spot aphids give the plant a spray with Provado Ultimate Bug Killer.