18 May 2010
Tips for gardening this May
Keep trees and hedging planted this winter in your landscape gardens watered, especially if the weather is warm and dry in Spring. On new, lifestyle living developments, most deciduous trees and hedging is planted in the winter months whilst the plant is dormant. They are dug up from the growing fields and planted in their new location on the luxury homes site as quickly as possible. This allows the plant to establish a root system before the hot summer sun emerges, when their energy will be put into producing foliage, flowers and fruit. Research has shown that root activity begins as early as January, well before we can see any sign of life above ground.
This spring we had in excess of 21 days without rain in April- so much for April showers! The weather was warm and windy which was welcome after such a long, cold winter. BUT for trees and hedging that were planted ‘bare-root’ i.e. freshly dug up from the fields and not cosseted in a container, this is the most important time of year for establishment in the landscape gardens. It is essential that the small white roots that grow off the main roots start to grow in Spring. For this to happen moisture within the landscape garden is essential. Drought Stress is the largest cause of plant failure.
At all of Environ's luxury homes, trees are planted up in the landscape gardens with a length of special pipe that is wrapped around the root area. Each week, a hosepipe is put down the pipe, which enables water to reach the root area and below. In addition, we water the soil surface but this is less effective due to evaporation and, if not enough water is applied, it will not reach those all important roots creating sorry-looking trees in the landscape gardens. Deep, thorough watering, once a week in spring and summer of approximately 1 inch of water around the root zone until established, is important. Of course, one has to take into consideration the weather conditions. It is essential that the roots are neither waterlogged or perhaps, as happened in the landscape gardens of the contemporary homes at Oaks Hamlet last May, additional watering may be required in freak warm gale force winds, which mean the tree transpires more rapidly and consequently dries out. There is no hard and fast rule to watering- just use common sense to keep your landscape gardens looking tip-top.
Another tip is to remove the turf in a circle around the base of the tree trunk, eliminating competition for water from the grass. Being careful not to allow the bark level to go above the original level of the soil, place a good layer of bark around the trunk. This will prevent evaporation from the soil surface in hot weather.
Over recent months, Slow Release Watering Bags for trees from the U.S.A. have been appearing in the UK to keep landscape gardens looking their finest even during dry spells. The bag is placed around the tree trunk, filled with water via a hose pipe and then left to slowly water the tree, delivering the right dose steadily over several hours so no water is lost in runoff. The bag holds 75 litres of water and releases it slowly over 5-9 hours per fill. The bag can then be moved on to water the next tree within the landscape garden. Trees up to 50cm girth can be watered by zipping two bags together. This is perfect to assist watering in domestic situations, such as in your own landscape garden.
Over recent weeks, we have been experimenting with a new planting product in the landscape gardens called Mycorrhizal Fungi. On planting, the powder is sprinkled around the root zone and within 2 weeks these fungi attach themselves to the root system and grow rapidly out into the soil. This fungi helps nutrient take-up, helps to combat drought and assists establishment of plants, especially in difficult soils. It was recommended by the curator at Kew Gardens, where it is used on all planting within this exquisite landscape garden. It is even reported that the fungi is successful in combating the problem of rose replant disease.
The Landscape Garden Team at Environ hopes these tips help you to understand that maintenance of newly planted trees and shrubs in your own landscape garden is essential. Hopefully all the landscape gardens surrounding our contemporary homes will thrive and give our residents and the surrounding communities much pleasure in future years.