Ad­vice on how to check health, sup­ports and in­su­la­tion

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

SO far, this win­ter has been mild but it has been blowy, with gales sweep­ing in and caus­ing prob­lems for the un­pre­pared. As soon as any storm has abated, check around your gar­den for dam­age and make sure taller trees and shrubs haven’t been up­rooted or weak­ened.

This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant with newly planted spec­i­mens be­cause their roots may not have the reach or strength to keep plants an­chored. The roots of con­tainer-bought trees will still be con­fined within a rel­a­tively small area, and bare-root trees or those dug up from nurs­ery beds will also have small root sys­tems.

You will prob­a­bly have se­cured your young trees to stakes at plant­ing, so check that these are still in place and the ties are firm enough but not so tight that they bite into the bark.

If you need to add an ex­tra stake, choose one that is roughly one-third the height of the tree as this will sup­port the roots but let the trunk move and thicken.

Site the stake on the side of the pre­vail­ing wind so the tree is blown away from it, and at­tach the tree with a rub­ber tie that is tied in a fig­ure of eight. This lets the tree move, but stops it rub­bing against the sup­port.

Cut back bro­ken branches to un­dam­aged wood us­ing a clean saw, lop­pers or se­ca­teurs. If the branch is in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion or is too high to reach, en­list the help of a friend or call in a pro­fes­sional tree sur­geon.

Also, check trees and ground-planted hard­wood cut­tings af­ter heavy frosts, which can lift the soil around the roots. Firm the soil back down around the trunk, but don’t add more mulch as this will trap the frosty cold in the soil.

You should al­ways right any con­tainer trees that have been blown over and move more vul­ner­a­ble ones against a shel­ter­ing wall. If you wrapped their pots in fleece or bub­ble wrap, check that it is still se­curely tied.

Check that pro­tec­tion is still in place af­ter a storm and re­pair or re­place any­thing that has bro­ken Firm­ing soil af­ter a frost Keep your trees se­cured

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