Stak­ing out pro­tec­tion for your plants

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

Iwindy to say the least. Last night I was sit­ting out­side the pub, try­ing not to be blown away while hold­ing onto my drink, (diet lemon­ade and black­cur­rant juice be­fore you ask) and at­tempt­ing to make some form of wind break with my jacket.

To­day I look up and down my road which is lit­tered with branches and sticks from the over­hang­ing trees as well as pieces of pa­per that have made a bid for free­dom from our re­cy­cling box.

Fenc­ing pan­els and plant pots have been blow over and no doubt it is be­ing re­ported as the worst storm for 100 years… you know what I mean.

Apart from the in­stant dam­age of the oc­ca­sion­ally lost stem or limb wind is in­cred­i­bly dam­ag­ing to plant and trees alike in more ways than one. I am a sucker for preven­tion over cure and so in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber I al­ways take my bud­dleja down to about half height or so, al­ways leav­ing a foot of growth about that of where I want it to grow.

Now the books will tell you to cut your bud­dleia down in early spring after any risk of frost, and that is what I do (hence leav­ing the ex­tra foot of growth to come off in april or so), but too many times have I seen branches ripped and dam­age due to snow or heavy winds that I break the ‘rules’ and look for preven­tion rather than cure.

The other time that wind can be so dam­ag­ing is when new shrubs or trees planted in au­tumn are not staked. Wind rock is of­ten talked about by gar­den­ers when plant­ing roses, but can pretty much ap­ply to any­thing that is not se­cured when planted.

I can fully un­der­stand it from the plant point of view, they are try­ing to lay down some solid roots to an­chor them­selves but in­stead they are be­ing pushed back and for­ward pre­vent­ing them from do­ing so.

There are a few meth­ods of stak­ing, the common singe stake which can be ver­ti­cally down about 3cm from the plants steam with a few ties to keep the to­gether.

The other method you would have seen on plants in parks and road­sides this in­volves putting a stake in at about 45 de­grees go­ing about 1/3 up the trees stem.

There are the two most common forms although there are ground an­chors and dou­ble stake meth­ods for big­ger trees. It’s well worth stak­ing and prun­ing plants now be­fore the wind, rain and snow set in for win­ter 2015… and you will be re­warded healthy and sta­ble plant later in the year.

Prun­ing is an es­sen­tial way to pro­tect your plants from the rav­ages of win­ter

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