Keeping your trees healthy & happy

Keeping your trees healthy & happy

Few things in your garden with give you as much beauty and pleasure, in return for very little effort, as trees.

Once the initial planting and early growing phases have passed, trees can largely fend for themselves but caring properly for your trees, in the first two years especially, is critical for successful tree establishment. Here are our top tips:

  1. Establish the conditions in your garden and choose a well suited tree. Consider the space vs the eventual height and span of the tree to ensure it will not outgrow the site.
  2. Buy good quality, healthy trees. Remember too that younger trees (such as those in a garden centre are easier to establish than larger specimen or transplanted trees.
  3. Make sure you plant with plenty of space for the roots to grow out.
  4. During the first two seasons newly planted trees will need thorough watering in dry spells. Make sure that you water enough so that the full depth of the root system is covered.
  5. If planting you tree into a lawn, make sure that you leave at least 90cm turf-free from the base of your tree. Grass and weeds can seriously affect the establishment of the root system and growth of your tree in future.
  6. Regular mulching round your new tree will help suppress weeds, provide nutrients and generally improve soil and growing conditions.
  7. Adjust any ties or string where your tree is supported by a stake so that the trunk is not constricted. After two seasons, your tree should have established a good enough root system to allow the stake to be removed.

If you have established trees in your garden then in the main they can be left to do their own thing. One of the leading causes of death to mature trees is harm done (often unwittingly) by their owners...

  • Planning a new extension or refurbishing the driveway? Remember that a trees root system can extend 2-3 times further than the canopy. If the soil is compacted, it can damage the roots causing the tree to die.
  • Avoid parking your car underneath a tree - apart from the damage that sap can do to the paintwork of your car if left, parking your vehicle underneath the tree again means that the soil gets compacted and harms the fragile root system.
  • Make sure that you trim weeds or excess grass by hand – strimmers can harm the bark at the base of the tree and provide the perfect entry point for disease.

If you have a mature tree already you will need to make sure that you remove any dead or damaged branches as soon as possible. Trim up any stray branches or growth at the base (known as suckers). Thin out crowded growth and any rubbing branches on mature trees (particularly on fruit trees). Ensure that you take time regularly to look out for signs of disease or insect activity which can be equally as harmful.

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