Friday, 20 January 2012

It pays to keep your eyes open

It's one of  those lucky finds I guess.
Last September, I had stopped to post a letter in a letterbox and saw a man throw a big garden tub, with what turned out to be a maple planted in it, into a skip.
I had a look at the tree and found that all the leaves had shrivelled up.  I knocked on the door and asked if he minded if I took the tree from the skip and he had no objection, saying that it was dead.

I took it back with me and when I took it out of the pot, I found that it was planted in a mix of soil, broken up polystyrene boxes (?) and bits of rock, covered with a thin layer of potting compost.
I scratched some of the bark from the trunk and some of the branches and found that it was still green under the bark.  I washed the roots clean removed as much of the rocks and polystyrene that was wedged into the roots.  Some of the rock had to stay as the tree's roots had grown over them and they could not be removed.

The tree was then planted into a well drained mix of John Innes, Peat and grit, given a good watering and put into dappled shade.  I have just checked, and the tree seems to be ok.  Although some of the finer branches have died back, there are some plump healthy buds on most of the branches.

Time will tell.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Winter Protection.

So, after the early cold of last year, this winter has so far not shown any teeth.  We only just had out first two nights of frost, with temperatures falling to -6C overnight for the last two nights.
Having lost some good trees to the cold last year, I have made provision to protect my trees this year.  Especially the ones that had suffered and had a hard time recovering over the short and miserable summer.

I had a look this morning to see that the protection is adequate and all seemed to be ok.

This first batch of pictures is of the 6'x8' Cold Greenhouse.  No heating is provided, but the twin-wall polycarbonate provides good insulation.  While temps outside read -6C, the minimum temperature inside was -2C, so perfectly adequate for the hardier indigenous stock, pines and junipers.

The next lot of pictures shows the frost free greenhouse.  This is a 8'x12' aluminium and glass construction on a solid slab base.  The greenhouse has bubble insulation fitted and is heated by a parrafin heater when required, backed up with  an electric fan heater with thermostat to hold temperature above 3C.  As an added protection I also cover the trees in this greenhouse with horticultural fleece.  This houses cuttings and recently separated air layers, Maples, Tridents, Satsuki and Chinese Elm, as well as some of the trees that were slow to recover after last years winter.

The rest will have to face the winter outside, but may be moved to one or other of the greenhouses if it turns really cold (hope not!)