In the gardening world, the main focus for December is National Tree Week (29/11 to 7/12/2014): an annual event to highlight the need to care for existing trees and make sure that we look for opportunities to plant new ones.
There are many great reasons to plant a tree. The knowledge that you are creating or contributing to a landscape that will be there long after you have gone can be a tremendous feeling. Trees can be planted as very personal memorials, and it is so comforting to revisit a tree that has a significant reason for its existence. Then there are the chance saplings, started by birds or squirrels, that grow tall before you realise they are there. If they’re not in quite the right place, they can be moved to a better site. It breaks our hearts to think of them dug up and thrown away, there’s usually a space somewhere! With most of us guilty of a fairly energy hungry lifestyle nowadays, hopefully we can rebalance it a little with the number of trees we plant and care for.
National Tree Week provides a great chance to check the trees already growing in your garden.
- Have they done well enough?
- Are young trees properly staked and the area at the bottom of the tree clear of weeds and grass?
- Have you pruned away any damaged, diseased or badly positioned growth to help a young tree grow strong?
- Don’t forget that older trees can also need a little attention, especially where trunks may have cracked or split and allowed rot to set in. The care of mature trees is usually a job for a qualified tree surgeon; it is not worth the risk of ignoring dangerous limbs or obvious cracks and rotten sections.
Do you have a new garden?
There is almost always room for a small tree or even a large shrub in every garden, no matter what the size. You have to be a little careful in positioning trees near walls and drains but apart from that there is a variety to suit most situations. The usual choice is between trees grown to create shade, flowers or fruit. A good shade tree will have great foliage to keep you cool in summer and will save energy in winter by acting as a windbreak. Flowering trees often produce fruit as well, whether it is to feed the family or the wildlife. Blossom attracts insects and birds to the garden which provides natural control for other pest problems.
If you’re considering planting a new tree, read up the books and the catalogues first. Check the predicted height at 10 years as well as the ultimate height, and talk to the nurserymen and the plant team at the garden centre who will tell you what grows well on your soil and what will suit your needs.
There are so many wonderful trees to choose from, but here are some of our suggestions.
- Great trees for shade: Norway maples, Holm oaks and cedars
- Flowering trees: hawthorns, crab apples and cherries
- Trees for fruit: Apples, plums and damsons
Do come and speak to our plant team if you would like any further suggestions or help!