My trees are looking rather browned off
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