Garden Blog - Blog Post

Pine Pedicure


I was going to do a “spot the difference” but I couldn’t find the “before” picture. Naturally, I didn’t take one immediately before the change, but I know I took one years ago that I can’t find now, so I’ll just have to show you the “after” picture:

This is the sunset view out of my bedroom window. Note the set of branch stump-ends around the middle-left of the picture. That whole area was covered by the crown of a large Goat Willow tree, which has now gone. The crown has gone, that is, the tree itself remains. We had it pollarded back to a set of thick branches from which it will re-grow. This being a willow tree, I expect it will regrow with a vengeance. The work looks severe but because there are so many trees around it, the removal of the crown hasn’t really left any kind of glaring gap. It’s almost missable.

That wasn’t the only tree work we had done, the three Scots Pines we have in the garden also got some pampering by having the dead wood removed and the trunks neatened up. Crossing branches were also taken out.

By having the dead wood taken out under controlled conditions, as opposed to during strong winds, I feel a lot safer under the pines knowing the branches left are alive and well-attached, not likely to come down on my head during gales. The difference with having the dead wood taken out is more than I thought it would be, standing under the pines and looking up, it feels much more airy and de-congested – like there’s breathing room. It’s a similar feeling to when I lifted the canopy of the beech trees that run along the back of the garden, making it lofty instead of oppressive.

The trees were also given a clean bill of health too. Of the three pines we have, two are sturdy, one of which is particularly solid, the third is rather thin and bendy but isn’t suffering terribly, it’s surrounded by its larger brothers (probably helping to keep it upright in strong winds) and the ground around where the trees are is now starting to be fed and watered with the creation of the Willow Border and Landing Pad. Pines have extensive surface roots and I expect they will be quickly growing into the rich, moist, fertile soil of the new border I just made, if they know what’s good for them.

I asked the tree people to leave the thicker branches as I can always find uses for this kind of wood around the garden to mark path edges and make habitats:

I’ll leave this wood to dry out over the winter before making use of it. If I were to set the pieces of willow in now, they would actually re-sprout – like a mega hardwood cutting.

It’s not often we have professional help in the garden, but it was definitely necessary with the tree work we needed. I couldn’t have attempted to do it myself and survived. It’s also a worry off my mind and with this work done, lets me get on with working on the Willow border back at ground level readying it for planting later in the season.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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gardeninacity 09/09/2020 - 7:49 pm

Much better. Lucky you to have such trees. My parents had a small grove of 4 white pines – I remember their needles were soft and fragrant.

Sunil 11/09/2020 - 5:05 pm

Hello Jason, yeah we really do like having the pines, despite the problems they come with I’m happy to try and work and fit the garden around them. Unfortunately, the needles from these pines are spiny and take years to break down – good for the wood chip paths I have at the back, I suppose.


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