My trees are looking rather browned off

Sunday Mirror - - PUZZLES -

Why might my conifers have brown patches? – Wil­liam Spencer, Lon­don DAVID: Three pos­si­bil­i­ties come to mind: in­suf­fi­cient light, ex­po­sure to very cold winds, or sim­ply dry­ing out.

Check noth­ing is block­ing their light too much, and make sure they are wa­tered in a dry spell be­cause they are very thirsty plants.

There’s noth­ing much you can do to save ma­ture shrubs from the wind but con­sider it next time you’re plant­ing. gar­den – and birds and other wildlife will love them just as much as you.

No gar­den is too small – ap­ple trees can be trained against a wall or trel­lis, and there are many va­ri­eties and sizes to choose from, so you’ll def­i­nitely find the per­fect fit.

The first step to ap­ple suc­cess is choos­ing the right tree. Find a va­ri­ety that you like to eat or cook with first.

The names you see in the su­per­mar­ket aren’t so help­ful here as, sadly, a lot are im­ported.

Your best bet is to visit a lo­cal ap­ple farm and taste a few va­ri­eties – that way you can be sure they will grow eas­ily in the cli­mate of your gar­den.

Find a sunny, shel­tered spot for your tree and ap­prox­i­mately mea­sure the space you have avail­able.

Some ap­ple trees rely on crosspol­li­na­tion, so you might need to plant two trees from the same or sim­i­lar pol­li­na­tion groups in or­der for them to pro­duce fruit.

Other ap­ple trees are self-pol­li­nat­ing and you can get away with just the one – so al­ways check first.

To en­sure your tree will fit the avail­able space, you need to find the va­ri­ety you like with the cor­rect root­stock – es­sen­tially a code that de­ter­mines how large your tree will grow.

It might seem con­fus­ing, but ask at your gar­den cen­tre and they should be able to help you. Take with you the mea­sure­ments of the space you have, let them know what type of ap­ple you pre­fer, and they’ll help you find the tree with the cor­rect root­stock.

The best time to plant an ap­ple tree is over win­ter, be­tween late Novem­ber and early March, as long as the ground isn’t frozen.

Take your tree out of the pot to see how big the roots are then dig your hole as deep as the root sys­tem and three times the width. Loosen up the soil in the bot­tom and at the edges.

Plant your tree in the hole – to the same level it is in the pot and no deeper, mak­ing sure the bulge at the

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