Should it be thought desirable to move a rather large specimen from one part of the garden to another, the safest plan is to space the operation over two or three years in this way. The first winter a semicircular trench is opened at some distance from the tree roots that cross this open trench are cut cleanly across, a the trench is then refilled with fine good compost. The n winter the trench is continued round the other side of the tree the roots cut as before, and fresh compost filled into the trench.
The following autumn the tree is moved. It will be found that by this time the tree has grown fresh masses of fibrous root into the prepared compost, and it will be possible to dig round these roots and bare them without much damage. The next step will be to drive the spade under the tree trunk, loosening it from its position. If there are tap roots, these must be cut through.
A large piece of sacking can then be drawn under the tree and the soil still surrounding the trunk, and the corners drawn up together, and tied round the trunk In this condition it can be carried to the prepared site, and replanted with least disturbance.
This method of moving a fairly large tree is adopted also when it is desired to move a plant that is in full leaf or flower. So lo as the soil is not shaken from the roots, a move can often be made successfully in the height of the growing season, and by dragging the sacking under the ball of soil, and temporarily tying up the roots, many a plant can be safely moved that would die if transplanted by any other means.
The pruning of garden trees, if we leave out the problem of trees, is not a subject that need cause much trouble to the amateur gardener. An ornamental tree is usually best left to grow naturally, and apart from the removal of broken branches, and occasional cutting back if a tree loses its symmetry through wind damage or other cause, there is little pruning to be done.
The best type of pruning, if any has to be carried out, is the “finger and thumb” kind. That is to say, when a tree is quite young, any small growths that threaten to develop into unwanted branches are removed immediately they are seen. Similarly, if a tree makes only one or two main stems, and a bushy habit of growth is wanted from it, then “finger and thumb” pinching of the growing tips while they are still young and tender is the best way to induce the required new side growths.
Almost any season of the year can be chosen for pruning old trees that must be restricted, except the spring, when the leaves are just bursting. If large branches have to be removed, the wounds should be made cleanly, right back to a joint, and the cut portion should at once be painted over or tarred so that moisture is excluded. Neglect of this simple rule of painting wounds is one of the chief causes of disease in trees.
Large forest trees, of the kind not recommended for small gardens, often have to be lopped severely so that they do not unduly overshadow the garden. Where such lopping has to be done, it is wise to call in an expert. If it is tackled by the owner himself, he should endeavour to leave a tree that is not an eyesore, but will quickly attain a good symmetrical outline. Spreading branches, if cut halfway back, should all be cut proportionately and the cuts made at a joint. When the tree is in leaf again it will look quite natural and show few signs of the recent pruning.