Take the knife to over­grown shrubs

Country Life Every Week - - A Walking Life -

The in­her­i­tor of a ven­er­a­ble shrub­bery is of­ten faced with mon­ster plants that have got out of hand. These can be tamed, but you have to do your home­work first. Iden­tify the shrub, then look up the rel­e­vant prun­ing sys­tem. Re­sist the temptation to chop it all back in one go, as the re­sult will soon be a shape­less

If you have a hun­gry sand, mulching is the way for­ward, as lib­eral ap­pli­ca­tions of or­ganic mat­ter such as well-rot­ted farm­yard ma­nure, veg­etable com­post and leaf­mould will bind your grains into crumbs and make the whole sys­tem work bet­ter.

Min­eral de­fi­cien­cies can be iden­ti­fied by look­ing in the right text­book and ask­ing those who know. Yel­low­ing be­tween the leaf veins, for in­stance, is typ­i­cally a sign of a lack of mag­ne­sium, reme­died by ap­ply­ing Ep­som salts each spring.

If your house is new, look for­ward to a steady first year of re­mov­ing brick­bats, plas­tic bags and lumps of buried con­crete. It will be worth it in the end.

Above: Lib­eral amounts of rot­ted ma­nure, veg­etable com­post and leaf­mould are es­en­tial to good mulching

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