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Trees: Phoenix Park, Dublin

phoenix park trees (5)

Measuring 707 hectares, Páirc an Fhionnuisce better known as The Phoenix Park is Europes largest walled park and to even attempt to cover it with just a wee handful of  photographs simply would not be possible.

And though it has been some time since I noted a park on this landscaping blog, I was there of recent with family having cake and goofing around with a frisbee by my favourite spot at present just by The Visitor Centre where the so very well kept walled garden, the café and the play ground resides. Read more

Trees: Betula – Utilis versus Pendula

betula utilis jacquemontii bark

The Betula or more commonly known Birch are a genus of around 60 species of deciduous [their leaves fall off in winter, in short] trees that grow extremely well in our Irish climate. By its soft leaved foliage I find it quite feminine in feel and appearance which works really well in softening any landscape or building exterior.

All of our photosynthetic friends have in them at least one outstanding trait for which we want to grow them. In this case, it is without question the birch’s bark. But, like all things great, you get what you pay for and there is always a reason why one is cheaper than the other as I will discuss shortly.

Asking for a Birch, just like any plant, needs to be a lot more definitive. It’s got more than 60 relations of the same second name remember. To these two fellows: The difference between Betula utilis and Betula pendula – couldn’t be that much ? You might be surprised.

Betula utilis

The Himalayan birch is an absolute stunner. As it matures from a young main stem to a tree like trunk its skin peels and develops from a rusty orange tinged brown to a soft pinkish white, then further maturing to a bright smooth as you like, white paper skin.

Although it will do so anyway, I always love the fact that you can peel it off like a bad roll of sellotape. The utilis types are upright [ ie. go against gravity] by their appearance and habit and can grow to about 60′ tall. I have 5 in my garden – worth every single cent and centimetre .

  • recommended: Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’

Betula pendula

The main trait of the Betual Pendula types is that they are all [think about it… pendula, pendulum ~ ie. swing ~ ie. must hang ~ as versus upright] weeping trees by their nature. That said they can still grow up to 80′ tall.

Far more important than that however is that they have a glitch, a flaw in their character. Like the way I’ve never not met a Jack Russell without a dodgy back leg; as the tree matures it’s bark cracks and the newly maturing and indented creases of the bark then turn to black.

In the not so pretty department, it’s not only the bark that’s a bit brutish in appearance and touch as you’ll find the stems of its foliage suffer a similar effect.In comparison, it can be a little scraggy, depending, and just doesn’t cut the mustard in the same way the Betula utilis ‘jacquemontii’ does.

  • recommended: Betula pendula ‘youngii’

Notes:

The key to developing that white bark all over is the crown raising. Strip the lower branches bare, like a telegraph pole and try as best as possible to retain only one leader. this I should add and double underline, is something that is so very important and really should be considered when first selecting and choosing the trees for purchase. The wounds will heal over and what may [possibly] seem a little unfair will pay its dividends.

More information and enquiries:

betula utilis jacquemontii bark

Tree Moving in Dublin, This Season

Today was a great day for moving trees. The ground was wet, but this makes the digging a lot easier than when bone dry. It also allows for the more fragile of roots to maybe tease out as verus break inside a clump.

More than that the tree is in its dormant state.

Digging carefully around what you believe is the circumferance of the root zone and as best aspossible below, what one need to do is lift as much of the tree [below ground] as possible with as little disturbance as one possibly can. Sometimes easier said than done, I’ve used the Apricot as the example as versus the Oak trees I had to move later on today…..

With the trees lifted out of the ground, here’s what you find

These were the trees before I moved them….

Now all I need to do is replant them. I’ll give them a little fertiliser as they are going in and stake and strap them just to make life a little easier.

Robinia Pseudoacacia Frisia

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I had an email in today reminding me that October was just around the corner…. And it is. With that comes tree planing season. That said, this photo was taken last week and there is great potential for me to end on an entirely different subject-ish 😉 My idea here is just to get you thinking of what is merely weeks away….  Plan now for when you will essentially be buying a twig, stick or dormant plant and you will reap the rewards.

Imagine if everyone in Ireland planted just one tree how beautiful this country would look….

This however is the Robinia pseudoacacia ‘frisia’.

Leguminosae/ papilionaceae. The Robinia’s are a genus of about 20 deciduous species and grow pretty well in Ireland. ‘The books’ note that it may upset your tummy if you eat any part of the tree. On one hand, who eats trees anyway. On the other, better safe than sorry and I tell you in advance.

To it’s name; Psuedo meaning false, and acacia being an entirely different tree, this is often commonly known as the false acacia or the black locust. It’s attractiveness comes down to its foliage which is almost like the sweet pea or pea’s that I have grown in my garden – but then it is Leguminosae [legume] which is essentially the pea family.

This variety of Robinia can grow up to 50 feet tall. It’s golden foliage turns to a more green in summer and to a more orange in autumn. I love it also for its perfumed [although I can’t smell diddly] white flowers than grow in little hanging clusters or racemes* in summer time.

They also remind me slightly of these Gleditsia – funnily enough, they are commonly referred to as the honey locust. Well, you learn something new every day. Go. Buy. Enjoy. Let me know how you get on.

*raceme: [def] a cluster of flowers along a central stem

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.