Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Shrub can make big change

A mature tree or shrub dramatically changes the way you look at your garden. It may cost you a pretty penny but would save waiting a lifetime to grow it! Specimens add instant charm and attraction to a property (just think of how many years it would take a Wisteria to grow into a reliable flowering size, for example).

Your garden space is another room and, like the inside of your home, maybe you shouldn't be afraid to redecorate or modernise it every now and again. Adding a bold & distinct focal point adds interest and value.

People often seem skeptical about planting big containerised trees and shrubs, and with good reason. Trees in the wi]d have a root spread as wide as the widest branches, and lots of these are kig thick tap roots. Cherry trees for example have thick roots close to the surface, and Oaks are known for their deep tap roots.

Traditional planting time is in late Autumn to Winter, when the tree is dormant and roots are under less stress. You may have seen Garden Centres sell bare rooted deciduous hedging in winter and these immature `whips' can take this treatment provided their roots are covered in soil, heeled in and planted before leaf break in spring. A mature specimen however, is a different ball game. It needs a well developed root system with constant access to water and nutrients, especially during early spring. The secret to growing a mature specimen tree is shaping the roots, and pruning the top of the tree accordingly to promote good root growth. How can a mature tree be lifted and planted at any time of year, even in full leaf? Well, the answer again is acheiving that short fibrous root system; by lifting, and root pruning every 2-3 years. When the trees reach the Garden Centre they have a wide flat root ball with straight sides and this literally stands them in good stead as they can withstand winds better. All this care means they can be planted at anytime with good results.

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