Su­per suck­ers

Garden Answers (UK) - - Gourmet Grower -

Q Will this colour­ful tree sur­vive hard prun­ing? KATHER­INE WHALLEY, BROUGHTY FERRY, DUNDEE A Your tree is Rhus typ­ina, com­monly called stag’s horn sumach. This large, mul­ti­stemmed shrub is grown for its spec­tac­u­lar au­tumn colour and has a habit of pro­duc­ing many suck­ers from the roots, es­pe­cially in light soils and in drought con­di­tions. It will cer­tainly sur­vive hard prun­ing, but this will prob­a­bly en­cour­age more suck­ers, which could spread some dis­tance from the main plant. Q What would help my poorly pot­ted holly? SO­NIA TAY­LOR, BY EMAIL A Re­move your holly from its pot, cut about 2.5cm (1in) of roots and com­post from the root­ball base with a kitchen knife and re­plant in John Innes No3 com­post. Keep it moist then, when growth starts in spring, ap­ply a weekly liq­uid feed. To en­cour­age a fuller head of leaves, trim back a few shoots by about half. Then, cut back the new shoots as they emerge on the pruned stems. Q Why are leaves crispy on pieris? J HAWLEY, BOGNOR REGIS A Pieris are gen­er­ally wood­land plants that thrive in moist, hu­mus-rich, acidic soil. Although they don’t need a wet soil and will tol­er­ate pe­ri­ods of drought when ma­ture, the dam­age to your plant has prob­a­bly been caused by the ex­treme heat and drought of last sum­mer. Give it a thick mulch of er­i­ca­ceous com­post now and an er­i­ca­ceous feed in spring and see if it re­vives.

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