Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Trees–An Undervalued Resource?


Trees deliver a wide range of benefits and add value to our lives; however, trees are often viewed as potential liabilities or negative costs.

New trees are generally planted with good intention but suffer from poor species selection, inappropriate planting methods and a lack of maintenance.

Existing trees are often unmanaged until a problem, nuisance or danger occurs.

I believe that trees and shrubs, whether grown individually or collectively should be valued as a quantifiable living resource, a natural capital.

Investing in trees and their proactive, strategic management makes economic sense; such an investment can deliver social and environmental benefits as well as a tangible financial return.

The importance of establishing, expanding and managing a diverse and resilient tree population has never been greater.

Trees have a key role to play in mitigating the effects of an unpredictable changing climate and the ongoing expansion and development of the built environment.

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Monday, 4 December 2017

Wild Privet

Wild privet (Ligustrum vulgare) is a robust, vigorous native shrub that can attain a height of 5m if left unpruned. The species is classed as semi-evergreen due to partial, seasonal defoliation that can be caused by frosts, or, of more relevance in a maritime context, strong, salt-laden winter winds.

Wild privet can be planted and managed as a dense, single-species, formal hedge, providing effective screening and shelter for domestic gardens or amenity areas in coastal areas that allows for the planting of less hardy plants on the leeward side.

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Wild privet is also a beneficial and common component of mixed native hedgerows and is well-suited for planting around the margins or as an understorey of woodlands or wildlife areas. When allowed to grow unrestricted, the spreading bushy form and semi-evergreen foliage provides a valuable, protected roosting and nesting site for birds.

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Panicles of white flowers are produced in late June to July, often regarded as having an unpleasant smell, they are beneficial for bees and a variety of insects; the small, shiny black berries, which are poisonous to humans, are a useful food-source for birds, especially thrushes. (N.B: Trimming in May will remove the flowers and therefore the fruit, if there are any concerns regarding young children).

The species is tolerant of most soil types providing that they are well drained. Plants are relatively inexpensive to purchase and are fast-growing.

Wild privet is a good all-round native selection with a variety of uses and benefits for the coastal garden and beyond.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Sea Buckthorn

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The sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) has excellent resistance to maritime winds and can be utilised to create a low maintenance wind-break or for informal screening or hedging. The delicate silver-grey foliage can be used to great affect in shrub borders providing a contrasting accent colour or as a foil for highlighting flowering herbaceous plants.

The deciduous species generally adopts a shrubby form but can also become a small tree (up to 6m high). The sea buckthorn will thrive in sandy soils and can be effectively used to stabilise dune margins; the species is tolerant of most soil types, providing that they are free-draining.

Sea buckthorn, as the name suggests, is a very spiny plant, so it is a good choice for restricting unauthorised access or for stock-proofing field margins, but should not be used in places frequented by young children or  areas with a high frequency of pedestrian access (e.g. adjacent to public footpaths).

Female plants produce bright yellow-orange berries in late summer that persist throughout autumn into early winter; groups of male and female plants must both be planted to produce fruits. The berries are nutrient rich and contain 15 times more vitamin C than oranges! The oil produced from the seeds and berries has historically been used for a wide range of medicinal uses and recent research has shown that the oil has anti-ageing properties.

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If you require a tough resilient plant to shelter your land or garden, provide a nutritious, seasonal accompaniment to a fruit smoothie and an organic, anti-ageing face-cream, the sea buckthorn ticks every box!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Coastal Planting Selections

Each month I will be recommending a salt- tolerant and hardy tree or shrub selection capable of thriving (not just surviving!) the rigors of the often harsh, maritime climate.
Having successfully established a well-stocked garden in close proximity to the clifftops of the rugged north Cornish coastline, all of the species which will be featured over the coming months are either growing in mine or my neighbours’ gardens.
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My street – can be a bit brisk in a force 9 westerly!                          The view beyond the ridge.

                                           Four Stamen Tamarisk – Tamarix tentrandra
                                                  Tamarisk
The four stamen tamarisk is a large deciduous shrub, up to 4m tall, with a loose, open habit.
Long dark branches, contrast against the delicate, feathery green foliage, which becomes laden with light pink flowers in May-June, borne in slender racemes on the stems of the previous years growth, forming long, large, persistent panicles. A good selection for bees.
Requiring full sun and tolerant of most soil types (except shallow, chalk soils) this shrub can create an attractive, informal hedge providing effective shelter and screening. The tamarisk thrives in well-drained sandy soils and is an ideal choice for beach-side locations.
As far as maintenance goes, the often ‘leggy’ growth only requires periodic, judicious pruning, to retain a dense habit. Pruning immediately after flowering is necessary to ensure prolific flower production for the following season.
There are other species available, providing slightly different foliage and flower colours , growth habit and timing of flower production:
Tamarix gallica, Tamarix parviflora and Tamarix ramosissima.
With a bit of forethought and planning the creation of a contrasting ‘shelter-belt’ of contrasting stems and foliage with successional flowering is an attractive option, providing an aesthetically pleasing and functional boundary for your property – a Tree-investment!
So if you live west of the Tamar, there is little risk of failure when selecting the Tamarisk for your coastal planting project! To find out more about our services or for help with tree planting in Cornwall please get in touch via our website www.treeinvestment.co.uk 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Right Tree – Right Place

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The concept of planting the right tree in the right place is fundamentally important in ensuring that your newly planted trees add value to your property and lifestyle experience, not detract from it.
Species selection must be determined by the site’s context (e.g. exposure, soil type and availability of space) as well as your personal preferences and requirements.

Trees can take a long time to establish and mature, they are a long term investment; poor species selection will negate the benefits that your trees should provide, so invest wisely!
Tree Investment will ensure that the right trees are selected and planted in the right places, in the right way; allowing trees to thrive not just survive.

Over the coming months I will be recommending a range of resilient planting selections of trees and vigorous shrubs, that are well-suited to the rigors of a tough maritime climate.

Whether you require a sheltering hedge or an ornamental landscape feature for your property, please revisit this blog for some free, expert advice on tree planting in Cornwall or get in touch via our website www.treeinvestment.co.uk