free advice for the great outdoors – if its not here – tell me

How To Stake And Strap A Tree

Following the pictures above…..

  • tree stake at the ready… place the stake [generally] 3 fingers width from the base of the tree and 2 fingers width from the top. Once you have your position correct… push it in slightly.
  • A tree stake pounder [the yellow object in the photographs] is preferable although you can use a sledge hammer. I find the sledge more often splits the stake and its also not very nice for Mary if she is the one holding it and you miss 😉
  • Drive your stake in until it’s sturdy, whilst along the way making sure its straight as it goes down.
  • There are many forms of straps and buckles available… but for my garden I generally but a roll of strap and cut to size. Always allow a little extra if you are unsure you can always cut a little bit off the end – you can’t however add a little bit on.
  • Wrap your strap around the tree and add the buckle on. Then pull really tight against the tree…. wrap one side around the stake and then double over the first piece.
  • With the tree now sturdy against the stake and the strap not moving…. get Mary [or someone else 😉 ] to lean agains the back of the stake and hammer a nail in. Always leave a little off the nail sticking out so it can be removed if you get it wrong or it needs to be adjusted in time as the tree grows. Be sure not to tie the tree too tight.
  • If you are doing trees in straight lines and you wish for them all to look nice and neat…. take a cane as an optimum measure of height, mark the tree stake and saw off at an angle.
  • A little tidy around the base and go and grab yourself a cuppa 🙂
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Moving A Tree

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The weather outside for the last few months as long as I can remember now has been a disaster being quite frank.

The funny thing about horticulture however is that life simply goes on. And when one misses out on a time frame of the season….. one often has to wait until the following year to get that task done.

There is no greater seasonal example of this than trees.

About two years ago I planted about 140 trees in my garden. A few failed for various mechanical reasons… but some where planted just for the moment. They were always gonna have to be moved… this January was the time to do so.

Trees go dormant over winter. They lose their leaves. They go asleep for a few months [wouldn’t we all like that… 😉 ] and come the rise in temperature is when they must awaken. So how many weeks do you have left to plant bare root and root ball trees or to move them….. ? As long as its cold outside is the short answer.To the point…..

You have a tree you want moved….

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The first question should you wish to do it yourself is could you lift this tree. If the answer is yes then proceed.

Remember if you lifted all of Dublin up and placed it in…. lets say Scotland [for the craic] would your tree be disturbed in its movement…. no. With that in mind dig as great a hole as you can around the base of the tree without disturbing the roots and then go under.

With a plastic bag – bark mulch bags split are usually quite durable lift the tree in one swift move from the hole onto the bag.

With your second hole already prepared…. drag the bag [ 😉 ] rather than the tree to its new location.

After this the preparations are the very same to planting a tree. Go do it… hurry… you’ve not long left.

December In The Garden

And what an end to November and a start to the month it has been…

Firstly to those affected in any way by the adverse weather conditions…. my sincerest best wishes to you all, I hope it sorts itself out as soon as possible. To those who chose to stand up to the Green Party politicos  [especially on RTE’s The frontline yesterday] more concerned with defending the amount of action groups who solve extreme weather conditions by sitting at a round table…. I applaud you. I also think Fionn has a point…

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But thats another days work…. and on to Gardens we go…. well, as best as is feasably possible….

You see gardening is a funny business. It’s not a subject that one can put off. The elements maybe against the preferred conditions – but if [for example] the bulbs aren’t planted in the garden this December… it’s now spring 2011 before you will see them pop up… you follow? If you put it off last month…. you’d better get them wellies on or be a very fancy dancer – one that can dodge rain droplets 😉

Despite the weather, I’ve still been working out there. You heard me 😆 It has to be done.

hedge cutting gardening-dublin landscaping-in-dublin-

first up is hedge cutting – some prefer to do it in the summer…. but if you have something like the forsythia which flowers on bare stems in and then goes into leaf – you’d be mad not to. Some say the best time is…blah blah blah 😉 I say, this when I’m doing my crataegus and my fagus. Its also when I’ve been cutting others escallonia… get the rakes, secateurs and the lopping shears out and go for it.

landscaping-in-dublin cutting back plants gardening-dublin

It is also a time for more select pruning. Maybe in this case the hedgecutters maybe a little too harsh. In this category I would add the removal of suckering growth – see the difference in leaves on the Corkscrew hazel [corylus avellana contorta – first image] ; the pruning back of smaller plants that have been let go a little – in this case the likes of the helichrysum [second image above – and similar in habit to lavender]; and also the pruning by hand saw of branches that have become a little elongated – almost tree like when it should appear as a shrub. Moreso, it is also to do with good garden hygiene.  

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But the biggest gig that most may possibly forget is the fact that it is tree planting season. The season when dormant and mostly native Irish trees get to go in the ground in their over wintering state. If you are looking for some ideas and names of, see this post on Irelands favourite native trees which can be planted now – I said now !!! Don’t forget the straps, buckles and tree stakes.

If you have existing trees – check the straps and buckles aren’t choking the trees – if they are – remove or loosen them.

Regarding your lawn…. you may get a cut in before the Christmas. Once again, the ye olde garden fraternity may suggest this is the wrong time – which is perfectly fine if it is the local croquet club… but if you are my Dad… well, you’ll be picking up the phone and telling asking me when am I getting my butt over to the house to cut that grass.

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After that – the bird feeders still need filling, the shed needs to be painted and I’ll guess you never did the new-ish garden furniture last month ….well don’t say I didn’t tell you 🙄

If you take my advice – sure get it all sorted – then go and buy some instant colour in the form of winter planters, window boxes and hanging baskets. Really brighten the place up…. God knows you deserve it. Now all you need to do is to go and get that Christmas tree 😉

Whatever you do and if you are doing it yourself… stay warm, dry and be careful. If you are getting the gardeners [at least for me anyways…!] in…. put the kettle on and give ’em a nice cuppa and a mince pie. If ever I wondered what a kite must go through…. recently is the closest I’ve ever come to realising it 😆 Oh and in case I forget…. do enjoy 🙂  

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November In The Garden

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It is that time of year… some say it’s bloody depressing. But I like it. I don’t know why particularly… maybe it’s that I get home [a little] earlier… maybe it’s that I get to burn the timber that I have mamaged to amalgamate over the last eight months or so… I don’t know. 😉

To the garden… mine and yours, this is probably the most important month/ season, for me, in the entire calender. It is what I do here that will pay most dividends come next season. So once again, this is what will I be doing in my garden this month and what I recommend you do in yours…

new plant trees trees ireland trees dublin

Top of my list is my trees. I’m now in a position where they can be cut back without all of that foliage in the way and so some crown raising will take place [removing of the lower branches…]. I’ve also got a batch that served a purpose until the others surrounding them matured and so I’ve got to move some and relocate others… if I don’t do it this year I am literally up the creek and next year it will become an impossible task. Stakes and straps at the ready….

berry fruits birds fruit cotoneaster-1

With the trees in mind and leave fall in place… it is time once again for the bird feeders to go back out. That and I need to get some other types of berrying plants into the garden to help those birds who don’t go to sunnier spots for their winter hols. Looks like a trip to farm supplies shop is looming….. or do I still have some in the shed…

In other news…. 😯 The apples on my trees had started to drop. It is at this point that the apples are about as ready as you will get…. I’ve picked them all now – except for the smaller fruits [about the size of a plum as they won’t taste so good – best leave them to nature]. Once again when the leaves fall off some select pruning will be required, removing dead and diseased wood and then the branches that over cross each other. If you planted yours in the last two years  make sure the straps and buckles aren’t too tight.

winter-colour colourful pots cyclamen 

If you are looking for some instant colour you’ll find there’s tonnes of it to be found – don’t those pots just cheer you right up 🙂 Some instant colour – from the plant department can however be bought in the form of ornamental cabbages and cyclamens. Add them to existing beds that need a little sprucing or redo those hanging baskets you took down last month…. g’wan you deserve to treat yourself!!

hedges lavender creative

Outside of that you [and I] still have to get those hedges cut… the plants still need to be trimmed back… and with that done… the mulch has to go down. This will leave the garden pretty much with its groove back on so it doesn’t look like a brand spanking new hair cut… more a well maintained garden, come Nanny & Poppa calling around for turkey and mulled wine for the celebrations December 25th 😉

Finally, trees and bulbs!! and finally [finally 😆 ]… herbs. Crop them and what you can’t dry store… pop them in ice cube trays… pour water on top and freeze. You’ll need them for cooking that big bird in a months time and believe me there once you move from dry herbs to fresh…. you’ll never go back. 

Have I forgotten anything…. leave me a note and I’ll add it to the list.

Enjoy!

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Peach Leaf Curl

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As a by the way…. just because its called peach leaf curl, it doesn’t mean it only affects peach trees. It will affect most Prunus related species.

Anyhow, I don’t like this one at all. It simply looks so ugly…. caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans [the second part of the name says it all…], it is spread by rain and wind where it will hibernate in stem cracks, scars or wounds and there is literally damn all one can do about it.

The leaves become distorted and bubble up like big ugly red blisters. En mass, it is pretty ugly to look at and I kind of feel sorry for the plant…. especially when all of the leaves fall off.

Whilst chemical control via any sort of fungicide will do the job… in my own garden I prefer to let nature do what it must and maybe from a biological control point of way I may get involved…. But the leaves do grow back and hopefully the plant will come good. But isn’t that what gardening is all about…

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