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Monthly Archives: February 2014

  • Protecting Plants From Rabbits, Deer and Farm Livestock

    The vast majority of freshly planted plants, especially young ones, need protection from rabbits and deers. What protection is required depends on numerous factors, such as the plant’s species, its size, its shape and the position it is planted in.

    Ideally rabbit proof wire, stock fencing and deer netting can all be used to deter any animal from accessing the planting area, which avoids having to protect individual plants.

    English Woodlands are always on hand to advise the best and most appropriate protection for your plants. As a starting point, however, we suggest the following guidelines:

    Protection from rabbits -

    Protecting Container grown ornamental and fruit trees

    Small ornamental and fruit trees of a size between 150cm-200cm, generally require protection from rabbits. Ideally, spiral guards offer the best protection here, protecting rabbits from gnawing the bark at the bottom of the stem, while usefully the spiral guards expand as the tree grows. If the stem is damaged all the way round the stem, it can be fatal to the tree.

    Larger trees are usually more durable, coping without rabbit protection. However if rabbit damage is likely, wider diameter spiral guards are available.

    Protecting Bare-root hedge plants

    Bare-root hedge plants should be protected from rabbits with spiral guards too. With plants of up to 80cm in height, a cane placed inside the guard is usually required to keep the plant and guard upright. Plus, if you are planting small holly trees within a mixed native hedge, don’t forget these need protection too – for rabbits are attracted to holly in particular!

    Bare root tree and hedge plants, for woodlands, roadside planting, screen and shelter belts

    Tubex tree and shrub shelters offer solid, but bio-degradable protection from rabbits, deer and herbicide sprays, provide the tree with support and an ideal microclimate for fast, healthy growth. Although they need to be supported by an appropriate stake, the shelters come ready with ties attached.  Tubex shelters are ideal for broadleaved bare root plants for woodlands and gardens, shelterbelts and roadside planting, with the larger sizes able to give some protection against roe and fallow deer.

    Shrub shelters are similar, but wider in diameter than the tree shelters, and are suitable for shrubs and multi-stem plants.

    Protecting Evergreen hedge plants and trees

    Evergreen plants such as Conifers, Pines and Hollies benefit from good protection and ventilation, so a perfect solution is to use a mesh guard. We supply these as either preformed tubes or rolls of recycled plastic that will degrade over time.  As with our spiral guards, mesh guards need to be secured by a stake. Beech trees, although not evergreen, also benefit from good ventilation and so mesh guards are favoured over solid protection for this species.

    Providing Deer protection for standard trees

    Trees with a 1.8m clear stem are still vulnerable to deer damage to the stem and lowest branches. To prevent this, deer fencing should be used to keep deer out. Where this is not possible weldmesh tree guards are ideal. Alternatively, you can construct your own barrier with four stakes and stock, and deer or rabbit wire between the stakes.

    To view English Woodlands complete selection of planting accessories, visit our category page. If you are seeking further advice on how to protect your plants, you can visit our contact page to pose a question to our staff, or give them a call on 01435 862992.

  • Trees and shrubs for windy sites - Crataegus – Hawthorns

    Commonly called Hawthorns in Britain, Crataegus is originally a Greek name, Krataigos, which refers to the strength of the hawthorn’s hard wood.

    There are many varieties of Crataegus, featuring broad as well as lobed leaves. Aside from the native hawthorn, which produces thick hedges, there are also ornamental varieties of crataegus that can make for some lovely garden trees, due to the variety of flower colour on show – some feature good autumn colour too.

    One of the hardiest native trees is the Crataegus monogyna (or the common hawthorn), which is often seen wind pruned and durable; coping in exposed sites where other plants would suffer. Hawthorns are also notable for being able to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, as long as the soil is not in drastically poor condition.

    Naturally, if left to grow as a tree, the hawthorn can reach heights of up to 6m (depending on the site). This, along with its dense branching pattern, means that hawthorn trees are generally good for screening.

    Traditionally used for hedging, either just as a single species or mixed with other plants, it is thorny and bushy enough to be made stock proof.

    The flowers of the crataegus monogyna in May/June are an important source of nectar for insects and the red berries (or haws), an important food source for birds and small mammals in autumn and winter.

    Finally, Hawthorns can regenerate effectively when cut back to the ground.

    Examples of Ornamental Hawthorns:

    Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’

    A small round headed tree that can ultimately grow to up 4-8m in height, with scarlet pink flowers in spring and small round haws in autumn.

    crataegus pauls scarlet 400

    Crataegus alba Plena

    A similar round-headed tree like the Paul’s Scarlet, but with double white flowers which age to pink.

    crat mono 400

    Crataegus prunifolia Splendens

    A small round headed tree ultimately 5-7m in height, broad glossy leaves which turn, gold, orange and red in autumn at the same time as the plentiful berries that ripen to bright red. Good for screening. A real gem.

    crataegus prunifolia splendens 400

  • Trees and shrubs for windy sites

    Trees can be of real benefit to windy and exposed sites, and can be more effective than solid walls and fences in reducing the effects of wind and gales. As an example of their effectiveness, deciduous trees and hedges can help slow down swift winds and offer shelter over a distance that is two to three times their vertical height. These trees and hedges will also help create shelter for the less resilient, more vulnerable plants in your garden, such as herbaceous perennials or vegetables. This year we have seen strong winter gales but even in normal conditions some sites are more exposed than others. Below is a selection wind tolerant trees and hedges for you to consider.

    Conifers are likewise hardy, and can help protect from strong winds. Here a few examples of conifers suitable for sites exposed to the toughest winds:

                    Cupressus x leylandii

                    Juniperus - Juniper

                    Larix – Larch

                    Pinus - Pines

                    Taxus – Yew

                    Thuja – Western Red Cedar

    Finally, here are some shrubs to consider:

                    Cornus - dogwood

                    Elaeagnus - Oleaster

                    Euonymus – spindle

                    Prunus spinosa – blackthorn

    If you'd like any extra help picking out an appropriate tree or shrub for your garden, do not hesitate to contact English Woodlands at any time, as we are more than willing to advise on which trees are the most suitable for your site.




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