Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

A spot of long overdue sunshine does wonders for our sun-loving plants – but the recent dry spell has wreaked havoc on lawns across the country.

Where abundant lush grass demanded to be mowed on a weekly basis there are now large patches of brown as lawns have succumbed to the heatwave.

Eco–conscious householders will often choose not to water the lawn in favour of conserving this precious resource – and let’s not forget how the presence of a water meter can influence that choice.

The result is carefully manicured lawns that, let’s be blunt, appear to have died.

Can I save my lawn?

So what is the outlook for lawns that are now residing quite firmly on the yellow/ brown colour spectrum?

The good news is that with a bit of tender loving care things should be right as rain once the dry spell comes to an end.

Grass is fast growing and, rather than dying out, patches of grass may actually just be dormant. To give your garden a helping hand in the recovery process you will need to rake away any debris, aerate the soil a little and spread some grass seed on sparse spots.

From there on the autumn weather will allow the lawn to recover in time for spring.

However, if a dry spell is particularly prolonged and becomes a drought there is a chance that the lawn may actually die and need to be entirely reseeded or replaced.

What can I do to protect my lawn in dry weather?

  • If there is no hosepipe ban in place you can choose to water the lawn sparsely to keep moisture topped up. Adding too much water at one time is pointless as it will run off but could also encourage moss.
  • Leave grass longer when it is cut. This is a good tip for strengthening the condition of a lawn generally, but comes into play in hot, dry weather as it helps to protect the grass.
  • Establish a good lawn care routine throughout the year so that it remains robust and better prepared for difficult weather conditions.

For more help caring for your lawn get in touch with Garden Busters.

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

Hay fever can cast a serious shadow over the sunnier months for allergy sufferers – but what if the culprit of a particularly bad bout could be planted in your back garden?

Itchy eyes, constant sneezing, wheezing – hay fever really can be uncomfortable when there is no let up from your symptoms.

While there’s no escaping the pollen in the air from nature and open spaces, a few changes in your own garden could help to alleviate your symptoms.

Some plants are worse for causing hay fever than others and it is worth checking if you have any of the major culprits lurking just outside your window.

Trees and hay fever

Unfortunately grass is a major cause of hay fever with its pollen triggering symptoms in a large percentage of sufferers. This generally lasts throughout the summer, peaking in June and July.

It is worth remembering though that different plants can have different effects – and at different times of the year. To find out what triggers your hay fever monitor what time of year it occurs and when it is worst.

Tree pollen is a problem for hay fever sufferers earlier in the year – usually from May to March but can last up until June.

Some trees in particular can prove to be highly problematic for hay fever sufferers, with the most notable example being the birch tree along with alder, ash, oak and horse chestnut.

The high allergenic quality of the trees is down to the fact that they are wind-pollinated, meaning their hay fever-inducing pollen spends more time airborne.

Hay fever sufferers may find trees such as blossom-bearing fruit trees better for their gardens while female trees are also less problematic.

Planting to help hay fever

This approach should extend to the plants in your garden too, with wind-pollinated varieties being worse for hay fever as opposed to insect-pollinated plants.

Plants that have been linked to hay fever include lilies, jasmine and sunflowers.

Plants that are said to be better for allergy sufferers include:

  • Pansies
  • Hydrangea
  • Roses
  • Peonies

Having a flourishing garden, protecting nature and managing hay fever is a delicate balancing act but good choices can make a difference.

For help managing garden trees contact Garden Busters.

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

Ivy can look fantastic climbing up the side of a house but it is also very easy to let it grow wildly out of control.

While climbing plants such as ivy are a popular choice to bring character and interest to house and garden walls they do need to be carefully managed.

This may be more difficult than it at first sounds. Growing at an impressive pace, ivy will need regular attention to keep it looking at its best – and to stop it becoming a problem.

Why can ivy be a problem?

Left untended ivy will not only grow out of control, it could also damage the exterior or your home.

Laying down its roots across walls – and anything in its way – ivy has been known to dislodge drain pipes, block and loosen drains, force its way into the home through windows and even damage brickwork.

The secret to avoiding this sort of climbing chaos is by regular maintenance.

The place to start is by trimming new shoots that arrive at the start of spring to stop the ivy growing beyond the area it was intended to cover.

However, with the growth of ivy being so prolific it may be necessary to repeat this again later in the summer. Keep an eye on growth throughout the year to see if extra pruning will be needed.

Control growth

When cutting back ivy it can be cut right back to the wall, growth is quick and this will help to tackle areas where the ivy has become particularly dense or it has started to flower.

It is important to watch the growth of ivy on old walls as it can work its ways into cracks, allowing water to get in, which will ultimately damage the stability of the wall.

Ivy can be a great asset to a garden though, and provides an ideal home for insects as well as a nesting place for birds.

While maintaining ivy that has grown to the height of your roof may not be easy this is essential to protect drainage and pipe work.

If you find controlling ivy growing on your home difficult seek the help of a professional gardener rather than leave it too late.

For help on all aspects of garden maintenance contact the Garden Busters team and take action quickly.

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

After the winter lawns can be left looking a little neglected and with the first bursts of sunshine making their presence felt spring is a good time to consider getting your garden ready for summer.

Perfect lawns are the stuff of dreams – you draw back the curtains one day and glance out at a perfectly even sea of green. The reality more often is moss creeping across the lawn, poor drainage and patchy grass.

Fortunately, a little hard work can go a long way when it comes to improving the appearance of your lawn – you just need to stick at it!

Mowing is the backbone of a good lawn care routine and – when it is dry enough – regular mowing will help to keep grass healthy.

But what about those other issues?

Lawn care tips:

Moss: This can be a problem in damp conditions and can spread reasonably quickly. Heavy use, poor drainage, dry conditions and shade can all contribute to the growth of moss. As well as dealing with the moss itself, gardeners should consider tackling the underlying problem.

Moss can be targeted by raking it out of the ground in the autumn, while either organic or chemical treatments can be added to kill the moss. Organic treatments will usually allow the moss to break down into the soil while moss may need to be raked away after using chemical treatments.

In the long-term though you need to identify the underlying cause and take action – whether that is increasing light access, installing drainage or extra watering.

Patchy grass: Good coverage is an essential part of lawn health and encouraging growth is an ongoing task. Feed your lawn with a fertilizer to deter weeds and moss while encouraging good growth.

Over-seeding will help to restore grass where it has worn away just make sure to do this when the weather conditions are right – ideally just before a rainfall is due. Preparing the ground in advance is also recommenced as raking over the surface will encourage the seeds to settle.

Dry lawns may need a drop of water from time to time but as a general rule, lawns in the UK have good moisture content.

A serious problem with drainage, however, could require the help of a gardening professional, especially if there is no obvious cause.

For help on lawn care and maintenance contact Garden Busters today.

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

Spring is here and hopefully that means some much-need sun along with a healthy dose of rain to get everyone’s gardens flourishing.

It also means a return to weeding. Weeds are a fact of life and all good gardeners know the secret to having a great-looking garden is keeping on top of the weeds.

Weeds are also an important part of nature and will move in when a patch of soil is left untended.

Managing garden weeds takes planning, a bit of hard work and commitment.

The Best Way To Tackle Garden Weeds

Seeds

Seeds are a major problem when it comes to weeds as they rest ready to erupt when disturbed under the surface of the soil – and fall from the heads of established weeds bringing even more weeds to your garden.

Taking steps to control seeds is an important step in managing the problem. To this end don’t turn over the soil unnecessarily and disturb dormant seeds, dispose of pulled up weeds carefully to avoid spreading seeds and cut off the heads of weeds before they have chance to drop seeds.

Roots

When pulling up weeds make sure to grab the whole plant, including the roots if possible, and pull straight from the ground to stop it returning.

Rain

Wet weather is the gardener’s ally when it comes to weeding as it is far easier to remove weeds. After a spell of rain, hit the garden as soon as possible and make the most of the conditions to easily remove weeds.

Hoe and Slice

For smaller weeds, or in the drier weather, using a hoe is a great solution for targeting weeds by slicing them off at the surface. Easier on the back, this is the best way to target tiny weeds.

Act quickly

As soon as you see a weed appear pull it out. This will help to stop them becoming established and dropping seeds onto surrounding soil.

Mulch

Adding a top layer of mulch around plants is great way to help protect them and make them thrive. As well as bringing nutrients to the soil, mulch also helps to suppress weeds.

However should you have a large area of land that needs to be cleared of weeds you may find it more practical to use a weed killer. If you need help or advice on clearing weeds contact Garden Busters.

Posted by & filed under Tree Work.

The end of winter is the perfect time to get ready for the gardening year ahead – it is also the perfect time to prune trees.

Tree pruning is best left until the end of winter when the trees remain dormant ahead of the sap rising as they enter the growth period heralded by the start of spring.

Why prune trees?

Pruning can be essential to maintaining the health of trees and will also help to nurture and guide future growth. Here’s why cutting back makes sense:

Growth

Pruning will help trees continue to grow with good strength; it will also encourage denser growth. Additionally, where areas of a tree have become overgrown pruning will allow you to take control of this.

Damage

With the strong winds and harsh cold of this winter some of your garden trees could have suffered damage. Check all the trees for signs of damage – any that have broken branches will more than likely need to be cut back to allow for re-growth.

Decay/ Disease

Spotting signs of decay and disease in trees is important to managing the health of your garden. Pruning a diseased tree may help to stop the spread of the disease and prevent any dead branches becoming a home for pest insects.

Safety/ Light

This is also a great time to tackle branches that could annoy the neighbours by overhanging their property, or that could pose a threat to safety in the event they break off.

When to call in the experts?

Light pruning to maintain trees is part and parcel of everyday gardening and should be straightforward as long as it is done carefully and in the right conditions. When it comes to bigger trees, however, it is always wise to call in the experts.

A trained tree surgeon will be able to judge exactly what work needs to be carried out – and how this can be done in a safe manner, accounting for the weight of the branches and height of the tree. As larger trees are generally more mature, a tree surgeon will be aware of protecting the tree from any unnecessary damage.

If you need help pruning a tree contact Gardenbusters.

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With storms blowing in on a regular basis and frost and ice biting, winter is the time of year when garden fences feel the strain.

If you find the fence around your house is starting to creak under the strain – or in the worst case scenario blows over completely – it could be time to look at having it replaced.

At the very least it will need to be repaired, but before you invest in a replacement make sure you are indeed the owner of the fence.

On many modern housing estates gardens can be bordered by four other properties with a fence in common.

There are many theories floating around about the fence on the right side of the property being the homeowner’s responsibility, or if the good side faces your house.

Know where you stand

While these may well be true in many cases there is no hard and fast rule about garden boundary ownership.

Instead the only place to find an answer that is 100 per cent accurate is in the deeds of your house, which should flag up the boundary that falls under your ownership.

If the deeds are hard to find your best bet is to ask the neighbours which side of the property their fence is on – if you ask a few the pattern should emerge.

Obviously if you are on good terms with your neighbours everything is a lot easier in relation to garden renovation.

Respecting boundaries

But still there are a few fence rules that are worth knowing to keep that friendly neighbourly relationship in good working order:

  • Fences should not as a general rule be higher than 2 metres;
  • Your neighbour owns the fence on their border entirely and could, if they wish object to painting, trellises and any other fixtures;
  • Should your neighbour refuse to repair a fence you have every right to put up an additional fence running alongside it on your property.

There is a lot to be said for good neighbours, particularly when it comes to fence maintenance!

For more information on fencing contact Garden Busters.

Posted by & filed under Latest News.

It’s that time of year when trees come indoors – yes, Christmas is here and thousands of homes will be furnished with beautiful conifers.

Christmas trees are part and parcel of our festive celebrations and many families are happy to pay anything between £20 and £60 each year for a decent tree.

While the cost may put some people off the idea of investing in a tree every Christmas, there is also the idea of waste. Come the first week in January and there will instead be thousands of sad-looking trees heading for the recycling.

But there is another option – and that is grow your own.

Living Christmas trees

A trend does appear to developing for people decorating trees that remain in their garden – and it’s not just Christmas trees. While lights have been added to beautiful external trees for years, baubles are starting to make an appearance in the garden too.

More notable, Christmas trees are finding a place in family gardens. While for most of the year they stand unnoticed as a conifer, come Christmas these look fantastic with lights added.

Environmentally-aware consumers have also chosen to invest in potted Christmas trees, which while more expensive at the outset obviously cost less in the long-run.

Adding a Christmas tree to the garden

Most living Christmas trees come in a pot for ease of transport and storage. If you choose to opt for a potted version it is advisable to re-pot the tree every year to allow it to grow.

Conifers as a general rule are easy trees to maintain. The only considerations with a potted Christmas tree will be to maintain the shape with regular trimming and keep an eye on the growth of larger branches while removing any that die.

Alternatively, the tree could be planted into the garden from the pot.

To plant a Christmas tree directly into your garden you will need to ensure it has the root ball still attached.

Like potted Christmas trees, once in the ground the tree will be easy to look after and require little maintenance aside of trimming.

Beware though, Christmas trees can grow quickly and substantially – reaching up to 50 feet.

Living trees also need to spend less time inside to avoid being damaged – around 10 days is the average time recommended.

When thinking about your Christmas tree this year, turn your thoughts to the garden and consider whether it would welcome a festive addition.

For any information on tree maintenance contact Garden Busters.

Posted by & filed under Latest News.

Houses, warehouses, roads – there is a lot of competition for space in our communities but spare a thought for the humble tree.

Development, unfortunately, often comes at a price for nature.

And this is the time that Tree Preservation Orders frequently come into play to protect trees of special interest.

What does a Tree Preservation Order mean?

A Tree Preservation Order is made by a council to protect a tree or woodland from harm or destruction following an application, which anyone is free to make.

If a Tree Preservation Order exists for a tree on your property you need to abide by it or face prosecution.

The order forbids:

  • Felling
  • Lopping
  • Topping
  • Uprooting
  • Deliberate damage or destruction

In light of the restrictions put in place by a Tree Preservation Order it is often necessary to apply to the borough council to carry out work to any tree that is subject to an order.

Carrying out work on a protected tree

Despite the restrictions in place it is the duty of the homeowner to ensure that the tree is properly maintained.

Carrying out work to a tree under a Tree Preservation Order can involve putting a form together detailing what work is required and why it is needed. Councils do have the right to refuse the work.

When an application for work on a protected tree is approved the council will reply with a written response.

Delicacy and thoroughness are essential to make sure that work is properly carried out when a Tree Preservation Order is in place.

Rather than take on the complicated task yourself it is wise to seek the help of a tree surgeon, who can advise on the work needed and how to go about it.

If you have any concerns about a tree on your property contact Garden Busters for expert advice.

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

Autumn is a great time for gardeners to lay the foundations for springtime success.

A little bit of effort before the first frost goes a long way to protecting your garden and keeping it in tip top condition.

Really it could be seen as a spring clean for your garden, it’s just the opposite season!

 

Lawn care in autumn

For many people lucky enough to have the space, a lawn is the centrepiece of the garden. While you will be happy to say goodbye to the summertime routine of mowing, there are a few tasks to be done that will help to leave your lawn in good condition.

Try to squeeze in a final mow before the end of October to tidy up the grass before it gets too wet, but leave a bit of length.

Clearing the lawn of debris, such as leaves, is also an important task as this will help to ensure light can reach the lawn, and it will help to avoid patches of dead grass and moss.

Specialist autumn fertilizers can also be sprinkled on the grass to help nourish and protect lawns over the colder months as growth stays low.

On the move

Autumn is also the time for a reshuffle should you being unhappy with the locations of any plants. While the ground is still warm enough, carefully dig them up and move them to their ideal spot.

Complement any changes with cutting back dead branches and foliage to prevent decay and make sure everything is in tip-top condition before hanging up your secateurs for the winter.

Delicate plants will also need extra protection through winter so carefully lift these without damaging the roots and store in dry sand over the winter.

Add a good layer of compost, leaf mulch or bark to borders to help protect plants through the cold weather.

Plant ahead

Many spring-flowering species need to be planted by the end of autumn, so plan ahead for what you want to be looking at in the spring. Daffodils and hyacinths need to go in as soon as possible, while favourites such as alliums, lilies and tulips also need planting in autumn.

If you are concerned about the state of your lawn – or need an extra hand to stay on top of maintenance – get in touch with Gardenbusters today.