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Graham's Top Tips

  • Christmas Trees now in stock!

    Christmas Trees

    Our Christmas trees are now in stock. We sell great quality cut trees and appreciate that many of our customers return to us year after year.

    We sell the traditional Norway spruce with the lovely fragrance - so evocative of Christmas's past...

    We also sell the ever popular 'non-drop' Nordman Fir which keep their needles so well. Make sure you cut an inch off the bottom of the tree and use a stand with a water reservoir to prolong the life of your tree.

    Prices start from £15 and are sold as labelled in the nursery - you can choose your tree in the dry and we are open during normal nursery hours plus Sundays 10am - 4pm.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Bare root and Rootballed Hedge Plants now available!

    We aim to supply great quality hedge plants! Our field grown bare-root and rootballed plants are available and it's now prime tree and hedge planting time.

    HawthornsNative hedges are valuable for wildlife as they provide nesting sites, shelter and habitat, and seeds and berries for birds and small mammals. For Rural Hedge Mixtures in quantities up to 150 plants (for approx. 30m) we offer a popular mixture of 2-3 year bare root plants 60-80cm in height pre-packed in bundles of 25 containing hawthorn, field maple, hazel, spindle and blackthorn.  We also supply larger quantities from a selection of your choice or our recommendations.

    a line of yewWe supply bushy evergreens as Rootballs - Yew and Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) - both make great evergreen screens, they can be trimmed to great effect in formal gardens as partitions, or a backdrop to herbaceous borders. Yew does require good drainage so Thuja plicata is a good alternative in heavier moister soils.

    Have a look at some of our previous blogs with advice on choice of plant, soil preparation and care of bare-root plants - happy planting!




  • Autumn colour - Nature's Firework displays!

    Acer InabashidareThe foliage colours on trees and shrubs this autumn have been superb. Now leaves are falling, bonfires are being built and firework displays are lighting up dark evening skies.


    Pyracantha Loropetalum NandinaFiery red and orange berries on the Pyracantha have been brightening up the office here at English Woodlands, the smoky leaves of Loropetalum and the flame orange tints of Nandina domestica have added an explosion of colour.

    As leaves drop, do collect them to make leaf mould – this is a great soil conditioner once they have rotted down to a crumble.

    Euonymus Red CascadeBuilding a bonfire? Don’t forget to check that no hedgehogs are hiding there before you light it – rabbit or chicken wire can help keep them out until the big day.

    Enjoy this beautiful autumn season, keep safe and warm.
    We’ll be back to let you know when our Bare-root Hedging is available!


  • See us at the Wood Fair!

    If you're heading to the Bentley Wood Fair 18-20th September, don't forget to drop by our stand and say hello - we hope to see you there.

    Wood Fair 2015 Bentley Wood Fair 2015




  • Evergreen Flowering Plants for the Summer

    Evergreen trees, shrubs and climbers add structure and foliage interest all year round, and if they flower too they are really earning their keep! If you have a wall to cover or a statement to make there are some great plants in flower just now.

    We thought we’d share with you some of the cream of the crop, available at either the English Woodlands nursery or online.

    Firstly, Evergreen Magnolia – Magnolia grandiflora, we also sell the variety ‘Goliath’ which flowers when younger than the species.

    Retaining its deep, glossy leaves throughout the year, evergreen Magnolia can flower from July throughout the summer, and if mild into the autumn too. It has large creamy flowers, which are delicately fragrant.

    Magnolia grandiflora was traditionally grown in sheltered walled gardens or against a house and enjoys a sunny site protected from cold wind. It makes a stunning stand alone specimen and is prunable, but at the expense of some flowers.

    Magnolia grandiflora Goliath Flower

    Our Trachelospermum jasminoides – know as the ‘Star Jasmine’ – is not, in fact, a jasmine, as you might expect.

    This climber has very fragrant white flowers reminiscent of jasmine and given some support will climb and screen walls and fences.

    It does best in well-drained soil and a sunny site, the star jasmine can reach an ultimate height of 7 metres. If this is too high for your liking, don’t worry: you can keep it contained in a smaller space, while the plant can be pruned, if need be. If you do need to prune however, be careful, as the stems and leaves exude a milky juice when cut.

    Trachelospermum jasminoides

    Finally, another impressive container plant currently in season is Nandina domestica, also called heavenly bamboo although it is definitely not a bamboo!

    These are erect, evergreen shrubs with elegant green foliage, which colour well throughout the entirety of summer and autumn. With panicles of white flowers appearing in mid-summer, nandina domestica eventually sports bright red berries, growing to an ultimate height of 2 metres, with a 1.5 metre spread. Nandina is slow growing and is an attractive plant for a pot on a patio – ideal in courtyard gardens too.

    Nandina flowering

    As ever, if you wish to discuss the plants featured here, or any that we have available in stock, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

  • 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.




  • Pinus sylvestris - Scots Pine

    This month we’re going to be taking a look at evergreen specimen trees, plants which stand out thanks to their beauty or stature. Today we’re taking the time to look at Pinus sylvestris, or the ‘Scots Pine’.

    Pinus sylvestris - Scots Pine A shot of Pinus sylvestris from around the nursery

    Historically, the Scots Pine was the only pine native to northern Europe. It unfortunately became extinct in both England and Wales anywhere from 400-500 years ago, and could only be found in Scotland. Fortunately, it is now common in some areas of the English countryside.

    It’s a strikingly tall tree in maturity, with an ultimate height of anywhere between 10-30 metres. Whilst young Pinus sylvestris is pyramidal, though later on will become broadly umbrella shaped, with a long, straight trunk.

    Pinus sylvestris Pinus sylvestris in a sunny site, displaying vividly coloured needles

    Pinus sylvestris in a sunny site, displaying vividly coloured needles

    The needles can appear blue or grey-green, and the tree also produces pinecones. While it prefers a sunny site, the Scots Pine will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It’s fully hardy, proven capable of enduring conditions from exposed and coastal sites with sandy soils to the acidic Scottish highland moors. It’s also tolerant of both heat, drought, wind, frost, and short periods of waterlogged soil.

    If you’d like to find out more, feel free to visit the store page listed above, or click here for other sizes. Don’t forget to call or contact us for more information, and check back later in the month for more evergreen specimen trees.

  • Trees for Summer Interest – Evergreen Magnolia & Honey Locust

    Britain’s heatwave problems may finally be over, which means there’s all the more reason to get outside and enjoy the trees with late summer interest. We’re taking the time to share a couple more with you today, so read on if you’re interested.

    Evergreen Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflorum gallionensis ‘Goliath’

    Magnolia grandiflora Goliath Flower 2103

    With deep, glossy leaves the entire year round, Goliath really comes into its own during August. Large blooms with a lemon scent and cream colour appear during late summer and remain through early autumn.

    It serves as an excellent focal point for any garden, though is most commonly placed growing against a house wall, or within a walled garden. As long as it’s protected from cold, drying winds, ‘Goliath’ will flower beautifully while young, and eventually (if slowly) grow as high as 12m.

    Also worth noting is that while ‘Goliath’ is broadly, and pleasantly, conical, you still have the chance of pruning it to shape. Just bear in mind that this will serve at the expense of some flowers in the current season, so make sure you’re certain beforehand.

    Honey Locust - Gleditsia triacanthos Sunburst

    gleditsia sunburst 400

    Honey Locust offers distinctive interest through its uniquely coloured foliage. Starting gold in spring, the leaves become green-yellow during the summer, before returning to a golden-yellow for autumn.

    It makes for an unusual yet attractive focal point, and co-ordinates particularly well with any red or purple coloured foliage already present in the garden. With an ultimate height of 6-10m and without thorns, the Honey Locust also serves well as a shade tree once established. Compatible with most sites and soils, just ensure the deep roots have space to grow.

    If you’re interested, take a closer look at these two while the sun’s still out. Clear days have helped our Honey Locusts to really stand out this summer, and Goliath thrives in sunlight.

    As ever, feel free to contact us at any time with any questions or queries you may have.

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