The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Weatherpro­ofing your garden will prevent damaging trees and shrubs


I’ve got a number of Acers that grow in large pots and this year their colours seem more vibrant than ever. I love these small, delicate trees and I’m tempted to add to the collection with varieties such as Acer palmatum Bloodgood that are bright red in autumn.

Growing the trees in pots allows me to move them around the garden to create different displays, as well as to avoid the bright sunshine and harsh winds that would scorch their fragile leaves and, in the case of strong gusts, tip them over, potentiall­y snapping branches and smashing pots.

Winds are one of the most damaging elements to hit our gardens and in recent years they have become more frequent and stronger. It’s when shrubs and trees are still in leaf that they cause the most damage.

A couple of years ago an autumn gale ripped a branch off of our magnolia and every year trees are blown over in the woodland around us.

If you’ve got anything in the garden with long branches, such as buddleias or climbing roses, trim these back now by at least a third and there’s less chance of them being torn off in a storm, potentiall­y damaging the main stems.

It’s also time to check the stakes on young trees and ensure that these are still performing effectivel­y, and have a look too at anything that’s recently been planted and firm the ground around these if necessary to prevent them being rocked by the wind. If that happens, the roots can come loose and the plant may start to fail.

Fortunatel­y, we’ve also had some calm days recently and during these I’ve continued to work on the long border, adding compost and leaf mould to the soil as I dig it over. I’ve also removed the

Fiery red Acers like the Japanese fire bush palmatum maple tree, above, provide autumn colour in gardens and can be grown in pots, so they can be moved around to create different displays. Inset: Japanese Quince flowers.

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