Using British Trees is Best
In the same way that the Coronavirus pandemic has been sweeping the country recently, our tree population is also in peril as a result of pandemics introduced from abroad. Almost twenty serious tree diseases have arrived in the UK since 1990. Most of these are now having a significant impact on our tree and plant population.
The Woodland Trust has reported that trees in the UK are being threatened with foreign diseases caused by a huge increase in low cost imported trees. Sourced from abroad, particularly from Southern Europe where they can be grown faster, thanks to the climate, and so cheaper, these trees may save money but there is a big long-term cost.
Between 2010 and 2012, the UK imported over one million ash trees. The Dieback disease is thought to have arrived in this way and is now expected to eventually kill over 100 million ash trees in the UK. The importation was banned in October 2012, but it was too late and the clean-up cost is now estimated to be over £15 billion.
In a similar situation, in 2019 Processionary Moth, which not only damages oak trees but is also harmful to human health, was also missed and imported more than 70 times into the UK. In addition, a new tree disease called Phytophthora Pluvialis, which affects a variety of trees including firs, has recently been found in Cornwall. It is not yet known how this has arrived in the UK but is another reminder of the vulnerability of the UK’s trees to deadly pests and diseases.
The message is definitely that it is best to buy British trees and to plant a variety on any project, so that disease may not affect all of those within a scheme. Indeed, trees must grow and survive to maturity, when their carbon-absorbing capacities are most effective.
Wherever possible, we seek to use British trees in schemes and would almost always recommend them. Using lower-cost imported trees can make initial savings but there are long-term costs. For further advice please browse our website or contact us to discuss your next soft landscaping project.
New turf must be kept moist until it has become fully established. If it does not rain frequently after the turf has been laid and/or during hot, dry or windy conditions you may have to water the new lawn twice or even three times a day.
Also, water immediately at any sign of the turf drying out or shrinking. If gaps appear in between the joins in the turf, then fill them with a mix of soil and seed.
In spring and summer, the new turf will be ready for its first cut in 7-10 days, but make sure it is a gentle and high cut by raising the cutting height! You should just level the top of the grass. Then continue to cut, twice a week in spring or autumn or once a week in summer, never removing more than one-third of the current height. For winter-laid turf, mow only if it is still growing.
Ideally, you should also feed the new lawn using an appropriate nutrient mix. This will also help to reduce the growth of flowering seed heads. When turf is harvested, the majority of the root system is cut off, which is stressful to the grass plants and they produce seed heads as a means of self-preservation. The seed heading will reduce once the turf has established a new root system, which can take 6-8 weeks.
Toadstools may also grow in the new lawn. All soil contains dormant fungal spores, which can lay inactive for years and years. When the soil is disturbed they can spring back to life and grow into toadstools. They will disappear after a couple of mows without doing any permanent damage.
For further information or to commission Panoramic to lay and look after your new lawn please contact us.
Turf can be laid at any time of the year, provided the ground is not frozen, waterlogged or very dry. However, the best time to lay turf is Spring or Autumn when the soil is at the perfect soft texture.
To lay turf in the Spring, ideally, the soil needs to be moist. If not, it should be watered beforehand. You will also need to ensure that the turf does not dry out, to encourage early growth.
Autumn is often known as the best time to lay turf, particularly during September and October, to take advantage of the perfect balance of heat and rain. It is possible also in November, provided there will not be significant frosts. Laying your turf in Autumn is beneficial as the lawn will then have six months to settle in and grow before the following summer.
Although summer months are not ideal, it is still possible to lay the turf. The soil must be well watered before to make sure there is enough moisture to help the grass grow.
It is possible to lay turf during the winter. However, growth can be restricted, especially if the new grass is not properly and consistently maintained. Ideally, it is best to wait until the winter frost has passed in March/April, giving the lawn enough time to establish before the summer.
Time and trees wait for no man! Of course, we can plant trees all year round, and we often do. However, there are advantages, not least from a cost perspective, to scheduling tree planting during the autumn and winter months.
During the coldest months of the year, trees and shrubs are in a dormant state. The soil is also usually moist and easier to dig, making our job easier! As a result, they need less watering after planting. Also, by spring and early summer they will have benefited from optimum growing conditions and had the opportunity to establish their root system.
Root-balled trees and shrubs are more cost-effective without the pots. However, they cannot be used in the summer as the root ball tends to quickly dry out in the warmer weather.
We can also plant trees and shrubs in the mid to late spring and summer, the warmer months, although we then must use containerised trees and plants, costing more to procure and taking longer to install. These have more soil around the roots, which will stay damp for longer. The roots tend to be bigger and so are hardier in the drier conditions.
For further top tips on tree and shrub planting or to discuss the best timing for your next project, please contact us.
When preparing lawns and grass areas, whilst we often use turf for instant results, if the client has the time and/or not the budget, grass seeding is a good alternative. However, there are some ground rules:
• Seed: Use quality seed and of the right type and grade (check the ingredients) to produce the right type of lawn or area and without weeds, which can be in the seed! You will need between 30g and 20g per sq m, depending on whether the lawn is to be ornamental or utility.
• Seed Bed: Preparation is the key. Clear weeds (not with a residual weed killer or your new lawn will also die!). Rotavate and cultivate the surface. Tread or roll and rake the area, both several times and in different directions.
• Sowing: Divide the area into small sections. Split the seed in half. Sow one half in parallel rows lengthways and the other half widthways. Rake over and then water. If the weather is dry, water again after 2-3 days.
The best time to sow grass seed is in March/April and September/October, when dew occurs for moisture and temperatures are typically best for germination, above 5 degrees. Therefore, if you need grass planting soon, best contact us now.