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December

A tree is for life … not just for Christmas

It’s true you know, a tree is a gift in more ways than one, but is it for life? Well, if you choose the right variety it could be, and we’re not talking Christmas trees here. Trees make great gifts for people of all ages and occasions, and its no coincidence that if planted at around this time of year, should establish very well. Traditionally the best planting time for trees and shrubs is November to March, as this is when the plants are dormant and wont ‘notice’ that they have been moved (shhhhh!).

Planting a tree is a momentous occasion, and it will hopefully bring years of pleasure to you, your family and your neighbours … as long as you plant the right type that is. Choosing the right variety is extremely important, so see below for my favourite’s, which should do well in most garden situations:

  • Malus ‘Royalty’ – deep burgundy leaves, pink spring blossom and red fruits
  • Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ – ornamental silvery leaved weeping ornamental pear
  • Amelanchier arborea ‘Robin Hill’ – white blossom, fruits, great autumn colour
  • Malus trilobata – oak like leaves, stunning red in autumn
  • Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ – a designer favourite, but short lived (50-60 years)

Tree huggers (as they used to be referred to) are thankfully no longer mocked, and our recent eco movement has educated us to the benefits of planting trees, both for their environmental benefits and also their aesthetic appeal. Research shows that the presence of established trees can actually increase the value of the roads we live on, as well as making us feel generally healthier.

Perfectly planted

Plant only if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged. Soak the roots in water for 30 minutes while you dig a large square hole twice the width of the pot (no cheating, as you’ll get caught out in years to come). Fork over the bottom of the planting hole and place in the tree. Backfill, adding some bone meal and well rotted compost. Ensure the tree is planted no deeper than it was in its pot, and firm well. Water, and attach to a wooden stake with a plastic tree tie.

Easy! So go on, give someone a tree this Christmas, and you never know, it could be a present which lasts for generations.

 Jobs to do this month:

  • Brush off any snow from conifers and structures such as greenhouses
  • Make sure you feed the birds daily and give them fresh clean water
  • Order seeds and new plug plants for next year
  • Tidy out the shed and clean propagation trays and pots
  • Sort through your old stored seeds and review the successes (and failures) of the year