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Monthly Archives: June 2013

  • Make the Most of Summer – Thinning Apples, Pears and Plums

    June is just closing out, which means it’s time to start thinking about fruit thinning. Nature does part of the work for you, with fruit naturally falling to the ground as part of the ‘June drop’. Nonetheless, it’s important to get involved yourself.

    apple trees

    Thinning your fruit helps immature trees conserve energy, allowing them to expend it on developing roots, foliage and branches, creating a better infrastructure to harvest from in later years. This even carries over to mature trees. If a specimen expends too much energy on this year’s crop, there may be little to harvest upon the following year.

    This process benefits the remaining fruits, able to develop to a good size, with sunlight and oxygen easily penetrating branches to help even ripening of fruit and reduce disease. Similarly to how you wouldn’t plant grass near an immature tree, avoiding competition over resources aids the establishment of a productive garden.

    For Apples and Pears, you’ll want to start by removing fruit with an odd shape, position, or blemishes. Keep an eye out for the ‘king pin’, the apple at the centre of the cluster which will often meet these criteria and need removing. On newer trees, try to retain no more than 6 apples per three years of age. For older trees, try and keep one or two dessert apples per cluster, around 10-15cm apart. For cooking apples cut this down to one per cluster, 15 to 25cm apart. They can be removed using secateurs and scissors, or simply twisted off by hand.

    Plums have a habit of over cropping, so you’ll want to keep particularly aware of the above risks. Fortunately, they’re easy to thin out. Leave one pair every 15cm, and gently remove the rest with your thumb and forefinger to provide more than enough room to thrive and ripen.

    If your fruit have already dropped it’s time to get started, and you should ideally have finished thinning by mid-July. If you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll have someone on hand more than happy to help you with orders and advice.

  • Don’t Kill your Trees! – Staking

    There’s more to planting trees than throwing them in the ground and hoping, and we’ve already taken you through some of the essentials for making sure they turn out healthy and happy, such as planting at the correct depth with appropriate space and maintaining a sensible watering schedule over the first few years of their life.

    tree stake

    But today we’ll be talking about staking, which should follow immediately after planting if you want to give trees the best start in life, and the stakes should remain in place for the first two years of growth. Staking will help prevent the roots being moved during heavy wind, at risk of tearing new growth.

    Just remember, as ever, to give trees appropriate space to grow. Every tree will need staking individually, and under no circumstances should they be tied to fences!
    It’s important to remember that different trees require a different amount of staking. For smaller trees up to 175cm, a single 180cm stake placed at the edge of the root ball will suffice. For anything over two metres you’ll require a double stake method, which we discuss in more detail within the document below.

    When you’re placing the stake, be sure to locate it on the side of the prevailing wind, this will keep the tree from being blown directly into the stake, at risk of damaging both.

    If you’re looking for a little more information, you’ll be able to find a few additional resources on our site to help out. We’ve published out own full and detailed guideline to correct planting and staking, which is available on our downloads page. Just click on the ‘Tree Planting Method’ sheet, and you’ll be on your way to planting safely and without difficulty.

    If you’ve got any questions or queries about setting up an order or gardening advice, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

  • Don’t Kill your Trees! – Correct Watering

    Despite your best efforts, sometimes it can seem like a tree simply won’t flourish, or even survive! One of the main reasons for this may be incorrect planting and care. Last time we talked a little about the best way to get your trees off to a good start, with correct and safe planting depth, so this week we’re talking about what to do once they’re in the ground, with correct watering.

     tree irrigation

    First things first, keep the roots moist before planting, just don’t soak them. Then water immediately after planting, which helps to settle the soil. For newly planted trees in dry summer conditions, watering every 2 days, or 2-3 times a week, is advisable until they get established.

    A good place to start is installing a Root Rain irrigation system, some advice on installation can be found here. It’s an extremely effective way of ensuring the entire root ball is watered, not just a surface, and makes a big difference in low quality soils.

    One slip up we regularly see is watering a small amount daily during the spring, summer and autumn. You should be watering to your plant’s needs, not yours. Water well, and allow the water to drain naturally. Check the soil moisture the next day to see if it’s dry or overtly moist, and hold off or re-water appropriately. Remember to keep doing this after rain, though! Soil may be less moist than you expect, and evergreens in particular are likely to need a little extra if this is the case.

    Container grown plants may require a slightly different schedule, having a smaller amount of soil at hand to draw moisture from. If they drain quickly in hot conditions they often need daily watering.

    Finally, remember to keep your evergreens moist during the winter. They retain foliage (and water requirements!), so becoming dehydrated can lead to unattractive leaf burn in the New Year. Be especially careful with container grown evergreens, if the rootball freezes they’re at particular risk of losing their water supply, so wrap pots warm and keep roots hydrated.

    That’s all for now, though remember to check back regularly and we’re sure to be covering more in the coming months. If there’s anything you’d like to see feel free to leave a comment, or contact us at any time.

  • Topiary in the Summer Garden

    Laurus nobilis 34 STD  80-100cm stem 4045cm ball head

    Gardening is a year round task, and there’s always one thing or another to keep yourself occupied with, from planting and protecting to maintaining and harvesting. But we have to admit that June is an absolutely perfect month for gardening work, particularly if the weather’s any good! The herbaceous plants are starting to take off, and you should be seeing some return on that vegetable garden as well, while the results of winter planting are just starting to show, particularly structural elements like evergreen hedging and topiary, providing a flavourful backdrop to the summer palette.

    Buxus sempervirens is a classic favourite, and one of our favourite pieces of evergreen hedging. It comes boxed in a variety of sizes, from £3.00 up to £110.00, depending on your needs. Commonly shaped in spheres, cones and cubes it’s your best bet for laying out structural interest along paths and patios, and ready to be trimmed for June.

    Laurus nobillis, the Bay Laurel, offers something a little different. A closely trimmed half-standard, or lollipop, creates structural interest with substantially more height. Planted in a sunny site in well-drained ground or containers it provides an extremely smart appearance by borders, pathways and doors. Again, it can be trimmed around June time to keep it looking neat.

    There’s a lot more choice to be had, for instance the many varieties of Holly make for excellent half standards, while the Portuguese laurel offers similar benefits. There’s a lot more to be seen on our site, and you can always check out our dedicated topiary section for more ideas.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or queries you might have, we’ll always have a team member on hand who’s more than happy to help.

  • Trees for Summer Foliage – Introduction

    USE In trees for summer foliage

    We spend a lot of time discussing the fruits and flowers of various species, they play a large part in defining the character of a tree, and affect the decision whether to buy very closely for most consumers. But these features are only a brief section of a specimen’s annual appeal, and the summer time has plenty to offer.

    There’s absolutely nothing like the colours accompanying fresh, new foliage. At this time of year we can expect to see greens shining their brightest, with the full range of nature’s palette on display among various species boasting leaves in pristine condition.

    For a particularly striking appearance, we’ve always loved Acer platanoides ‘Royal Red’ and ‘Princeton Gold’. These are a pair of large, tolerant maples, quick growing and great for summer screening and shade. What really helps them to stand out is their beautiful deep red and bright yellow summer foliage, they’re particularly stunning when planted as a structured combination, and you can see a little of the effect in the image above.

    There are options out there with even more unique foliage. Sorbus aria Lutescens, or ‘Whitebeam’, is remarkable for its rare, silvery leaves. It already features a beautiful goblet structure, but the foliage on this 12m tree means it will always stand out from the crowd. One of the smaller varieties of Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Garnet’, boasts deep brownish-red to purple foliage in the spring, summer, and autumn, with large, dissected leaves spreading widely.

    There’s a huge amount of variety available, whether you’re looking for a few smaller specimens to stand out in the garden or larger landmarks within a public space. We’ll be discussing these in more detail later through the month, though you can always check our site for more details, and don’t hesitate to call us on 01435 862 992 if you’d like to set up an order or pose a question.

  • Lawn Edging Promotion now Online!

     

    lawn edging

    If you’ve been shopping with English Woodlands for a while now, you’ll notice that we’re always trying to make your life a little easier. Whether you’re embarking on a major landscaping project, or just setting up a small border of sand, gravel, lawn or pebbles, one thing that can make all the difference is investing in good quality, long-lasting lawn edging. Reshaping a lawn can often a large amount of maintenance and upkeep. Borders and spillage need regular management with a shovel, and grass is quick to overgrow any limits you set in place.

    Lawn edging makes all the difference, though we’re particularly interested in our Rite Edge Aluminium edging today. It’s simple enough to install, with barbed fixing states and an easy fastening telescopic locking system. Just drive it in and enjoy perfectly straight corners and consistent shaping, while the rounded, lawnmower safe top edge makes trimming a breeze, and the castellated body means extra strength, and no unsightly lifting during periods of heavy frost.

    It’s designed to last for 27 years, with no need for replacement, or painting over stains and rust. If you’ve been wondering about carrying out some light landscaping and bordering this summer, there’s never been a better time to get started. From now until the 31st July we’ll be offering a massive 20% off the price of all Rite Edge Aluminium edging, so take a look through today and see if English Woodlands can scratch your edging itch.

    As ever, feel free to contact us at any time, and a member of the team will be more than happy to help set up an order or handle any enquiries you might have.

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