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Any advice?

A client has asked us to buy a specimen shrub - he's fallen for one that is basically going to cost the best part of £1000 by the time we get it to Wiltshire. It is to replace one that has been killed by the previous gardeners pruning it in the winter. 

While I feel reasonably comfortable with doing this, I wonder if any of you have hints and tips?   .... I do not want to go the way of the previous gardeners when the client is absolutely up for spending £1K on a single mature shrub.

Thanks Adam

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  • What shrub is it? What's the soil type? What's the aspect?

    • PRO

      A 2.5M Pittosporum, pruned into a lollipop shape


      • PRO

        Is pittosphorum winter hard in your area??.. in many places they are not ,and need to be taken in or wrapped very well for the winter. As regards planting big stuff it's probably a good idea to contact the nursery and ask for advice on planting. Preparing the planting hole is crucial and plant at the same depth the rootball or pot comes in. Never plant it too deep, and don't add too much compost to the soil you dig out for the hole but put a good 7cm layer of compost-not bark mulch around the entire circumference of the plant when done, keeping it away from the trunk.. doughnut style... 

        How many men have you got to get that shrub into place???. I'd check with hire companies for a suitable digger with a planting arm attachment. You can easily lift the shrub jnto the hole without damage to the stem ... thats if you can get a digger in mind..

        Planting the big stuff is great crack altogether!!.... 

      • Lovely!

        They're frost tolerant, still best in a sheltered spot as they get frost damaged. They need well drained soil.

        Dig a big pit twice the size of the root ball. Break up the bottom of the hole add compost, If the soil is heavy also add fine grit) gravel or sharp sand, bone meal for root building. With the heap of soil mix in compost etc and bone meal. Use micro rhizobia nitrogen fixer.

        If it's in hession sac cut knot of the top so it doesn't strangle the stem. Mulch with what ever, but leave some space away from the stem to prevent disease. If in lawn don't let grass grow for five years because it will compete for nutrients. 

        Might be worthwhile putting Irrigation pipe in the tree pit or you can use old plastic bottles with the bottoms cut off.

        With stacking, I'd be tempted to go for the two posts with a board method, considering the cost of the plant. Leave the stakes in for five years.

  • hi Adam, how far away is the shrub located, could the nursery send it on a pallet, or were you going to collect it

    • PRO

      I'm going to collect it on the 13th - we just have to pray that it is a wet (or snow) day - if it is a glorious work day I will be pi**ed :)

      • Crews Hill is an interesting place.

        Look it up, it's a road with about 15 nurseries / garden centres on it. There's also a pub.

        Ive had big plants from Paramount before, and all were top quality.

        Looking at their site though, can't quite believe how much the price of Dicksonia Tree Ferns have increased... reckon I've made a £500 profit on mine.

  • what was the plant that died?

    seems a very expensive pittosporum!

    is it grafted? if it is id be wanting a guarantee from the seller that the graft joint wont fail as ive planted a few in the past and had the odd one fail after a couple of years 

    if its planted properly, ie staked , soil, position theres no reason why it would die, 

    are you maintaining the garden on a regular basis, if you are then you can even control the watering.

    also you say hes had previous gardeners? has he just been unlucky or is he one that likes to hire and fire at will? 

    the only concern id have this time of year planting in a new clients garden is that the soil is free draining, ask the client if the site gets waterlogged in winter, nothing worse than planting something now and then realising it gets like a bog as soon as it rains.


    • PRO

      I'm reasonably relaxed ... I've been looking after the garden for the past 3 years (last year during COVID he upped our hours "to cover for clients that had cancelled", he's a good bloke, with more money in his bank account than proably all of us combined on this forum - so while it is a heck of a lot of money for me, it is nothing to him really.

      This mostly dead bush has been looking at us all for that long - it is also a Pittosporum.

      I trust the client... the ground is chalky soil, well drained and the location is sunny and sheltered

  • Blimey, how long you been planting?

    bung it in, as you know how.

    Take the £250 and move on to the next job.

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