Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance, Latest News.

Rather than bagging up all those autumn leaves here are a few practical tips about how you can make use of those fallen leaves and benefit your garden at the same time:

Use them for compost – leaves are great for adding to your compost material. They provide a rich high-carbon material which adds to the quality. Ideally chopped or shredded, you can add your leaves to grass clippings, fruit and veg scraps, plant debris etc and with the occasional turning of the pile it will turn into useful compost for future planting.

Mow over them – this couldn’t be simpler. Set the wheels on your mower to their highest setting and mow over the leaves on your lawn. This will break them down and provide your soil with good nutrients. Doing this once a week will mean less lawn feeds later and it will actually improve the look of your lawn in the long run.

Turn them into leaf mould – if you use some of your leaves with layers of garden soil and compost and leave it for 12 months it will turn into leaf mould which is a fantastic soil amendment which is perfect for vegetable and flower gardens as wells as potting plants.

Make some mulch – if you can shred your leaves then you can use them as mulch for vegetable gardens, flower beds, around trees and shrubs and for container gardens. The mulch will help the soil retain moisture and keep it cool. This helps to keep weed growth down and adds important nutrients to the soil.

So there you have it. Put down that rake, maybe invest in a leaf shredder, and put your leaves to practical use. It makes a lot more sense than bagging them up and leaving them to the refuse collectors!

For more gardening tips and assistance with your gardening tasks please get in touch. We would be happy to help.

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

You’d be surprised how much gardening work there is to do during winter. Just because the grass has stopped growing doesn’t mean you can put your feet up. Far from it, there’s a big list of things you can be getting on with. For example:

General garden clearance – removing leaves, branches, twigs, debris etc from your paths, beds and lawn. Making sure that your planting beds are not covered by any wet and sodden debris which may be affecting underlying plants. Getting rid of unwanted shrubs and clearing space in the garden for spring.

Tool maintenance – sharpen the blades on your cutting tools, service the lawnmower, clean and oil your garden tools.

Lawn – new turf for your lawn can be laid from January/February onwards and check your lawn for any drainage problems. Lawns can be scarified, aerated and fed with an organic spring feed in late winter/early spring. Reshape and repair lawn edges for the start of spring

Pruning – this is a great time for pruning roses, deciduous hedges, shrubs and fruit trees.

Planting – plant out winter bedding. Hedges and roses can be planted during winter. Trees such as beech, ash and walnut can also be planted. You can also sow peas and broad beans in pots as long as you keep them under cover.

Greenhouses – if you own a greenhouse, check that it is sufficiently heated and insulated to cope with the winter months.

Vegetables – If you grow vegetables winter is a good time to harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops.

These are just some of the tasks that will keep you busy during the winter months and there are many more.

If you need any assistance with garden maintenance during winter so that your garden can look its best for the start of spring then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Posted by & filed under Latest News, Tree Work.

Summer is almost over and attention now turns to preparing for autumn and winter. Now is the perfect time to give your trees some much needed TLC to prepare them for the months ahead.

There is a misconception during autumn that trees are going through a dormant and shutting down phase. In fact the opposite is true. During autumn trees are getting ready to grow and are starting to gather the food reserves they need to keep them thriving. Much of this activity takes place below ground so you can’t physically see it.

In order to help trees thrive during the autumn and winter so that they can bloom in spring there are some practical measures you can take to help them. These include:

Laying mulch – spread a layer of organic wood chip mulch around the base of the tree. Around 4 to 6 inches should suffice. This will help to protect the soil around the tree and keep the nutrients that the trees need to thrive.

Prune – remove any dead wood, damaged twigs and branches to promote new growth.

Water – if there is little rainfall in autumn then watering your trees will help them grow, especially if they have been recently planted or newly established,

Fertilise – only do this if the soil in your garden is devoid of nutrients. If you know this to be the case then your trees will benefit from occasional fertilising.

Planting – Autumn is an excellent time for planting new trees. Growing conditions are perfect and excellent root growth can be achieved by planting trees in the autumn months.

Recycle leaves – fallen leaves can be mulched and added to compost, providing nutrients for the soil. This is a much better option than leaving them for the garden waste refuse collection.

If you are unsure how to prune your trees and need advice on how to take care of them so that they can thrive for the future then give Garden Busters a call. We have many years experience in tree care and garden maintenance and would be happy to help.

Posted by & filed under Tree Work.

Having an unwanted tree stump in your garden can be a nuisance and trying to remove it yourself can be very time consuming, labour intensive and more often than not, unsuccessful. If you are trying to use a chainsaw to get rid of a tree stump you can only cut it so far without damaging the chainsaw on the ground and trying to remove the stump from below the ground level is virtually impossible without the right equipment.

At Garden Busters we provide a comprehensive stump grinding service that can remove stumps from well beneath the ground level. Using the latest machinery we are able to tackle any size of tree stump and remove it without hassle.

Removing tree stumps will improve the look of your garden, enable you to use that space again, make it easier to mow your grass and not cause a safety problem from tripping over it all the time. That’s the thing with tree stumps in the garden, if you’ve got one you’ll lose count on the amount of times you will trip over it! Stump grinding can cure that for you!

Effective and Environmentally-Friendly

Other benefits of stump grinding is the accuracy in which the job can be carried out, without causing any damage to surrounding plants, trees or landscaping. Once it’s gone you’ll hardly remember that it was ever there.

Not only that, stump grinding can stop disease spreading to other trees and plants. Conservation groups often call in stump grinding specialists to get rid of contaminated stumps before they can spread disease to surrounding vegetation. This helps to preserve the trees and plants surrounding it and ultimately improves the environment for everyone.

Stump grinding machines have cutter wheels which are specifically made to grind a stump into tiny pieces and typically, a stump grinder can grind a stump 6 inches below the ground, removing all visible trace that the stump was ever there.

If you’ve got a stump that you keep tripping over and spoils the look of your garden then please give us a call. We would be happy to help you.

Posted by & filed under Latest News.

Slugs and snails are the bane of many gardeners and they are always appearing in the top 10 of the most annoying garden pests in horticultural lists.

It’s pretty easy to spot whether you have a slug or snail problem. Your leaves will be plagued with strange shaped holes and the shimmering slime trails will be evident across your bedding plants and plant containers.

So, how do you tell if it’s a slug causing the problem, or a snail, or both?

Well, you can usually tell by the type of damage they are doing. Both of them leave slimy trails but snails tend to be the best climbers. Therefore if you can see a slimy trail going up your brickwork and your hanging basket has been decimated then you can put your money on that being a snail.

Snails also tend to be more discerning eaters. They are the fine diners between the two and they will go for the softer bits of the leaf only.

Slugs on the other hand are more your fast food junkie. They eat anything that’s going and they tend to stay at ground level.

So how can you deal with slugs and snails?

There are a few options you could try. Let’s take a quick look at some of them:

Create a rough barrier – This means making a barrier around your plants that is difficult for slugs and snails to cross. This barrier could consist of sharp gravel, egg-shells, or any kind of sharp material and it will need to be at least 5cm wide with no gaps. This will certainly deter some of the slugs and snails but it can be a bit hit and miss and also difficult to achieve with bedding plants.

Create a salt barrier – Slugs and snails hate salt. It dehydrates them and stops them in their tracks. However, you’ve still got the same practical problems as with a rough barrier so it’s a bit hit and miss.

A beer container – Slugs and snails love beer so if you put a container in your garden then they will gravitate towards it, drink too much and probably drown. This can be pretty effective and will certainly help as a diversionary tactic.

A bran container – The same goes for bran. They absolutely love it, eat too much of it and effectively explode from eating it because the bran swells inside of them. Once again, fairly effective and a good diversion

Nematodes – This is a biological way of dealing with slugs and snails and can be very effective. Nematodes are microscopic creatures that you can buy and once you put them on your plants (they’re non-toxic and will not affect you or any wildlife) they will kill the slugs and snails. Nematodes only last 6 weeks and they can only be used in spring and summer when it’s warmer.

All of the above are tried and tested ways of dealing with slugs and snails and some are more effective than others. You will notice that we haven’t mentioned snail pellets because whilst they do work, they can also kills hedgehogs and some birds so they’re not a very wildlife-friendly option.

Snails and slugs will always be with us and it’s a battle that most gardeners have to deal with every year. Make sure you come out on top!

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance.

In order to get the most out of your garden and to have it looking in peak condition, it pays to have a plan. Knowing what you should be planting and when is all part and parcel of this so over the next couple of months here are a few recommendations:

Planting for May

Hopefully the threat of frost has now subsided and you can get on with planting your half-hardy annuals. Plants such as foxgloves, wallflowers and sweet williams can be sowed now as can any biennials. If you have any dahlias that you have raised from cuttings now would be a good time to plant those as well.

Make sure you are mowing your lawn regularly and ensure to water any seeded and newly turfed areas.

If you are into your vegetables then you can continue to make sowings of carrots, beans, peas and lettuce. You can also plant out Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, marrows and melons.

Planting for June

As the summer approaches your garden will be coming alive. Finish off the planting out of bedding and half-hardy plants and fill your borders with sweet peas and morning glory. It’s also hanging basket time! Get them filled with petunias and black-eyed Susan and enjoy the colour.

It’s also time for a bit of maintenance such as removing the seedpods from azalea and rhododendrons and spreading compost around shrubs and roses to keep them moist and protect them from the warmer weather.

For the vegetable enthusiasts now is a good time to sow courgettes, spinach, rocket and beans. If you’re lucky you may also be able to harvest some of your early summer cabbages and cauliflowers this month. And don’t forget, you can grow a range of different vegetables in large pots and growbags.

Every month brings a whole new set of plants to sow, maintenance to be done and jobs to think about. That is the pleasure of gardening; you will never run out of things to do!

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance, Latest News.

That’s the thing with gardening. You always need to be thinking ahead to what needs doing and preparing the way for the next season. With that in mind, now’s a good time to start preparing your lawn for summer. Spring may only have just started but there’s no time like the present to get your lawn into shape. Here are a few tips and hints to get you going:

– It may seem obvious but one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy lawn is mow it regularly. Over the winter months your lawn would have taken a bit of a bashing so now that spring is here and the grass is growing, a regular cut every week will be an excellent start.

* Spring is an excellent time to apply some lawn feed and weed treatment. This will not only improve the colour of the grass, it will also strengthen the grass roots, give it more density and help control any existing weeds.

* Time for a bit of moss control. Hand rake or scarify the lawn so that any moss is removed.

* If you have developed some sparse areas of grass over winter, now would be a good time to do some over-seeding, rake the new seeds in gently, cover the area with some net to protect from birds and water every 2 or 3 days, especially if there hasn’t been any rain.

That should be enough to get you started! If you do all of the above and regularly apply lawn and weed treatments to your grass then you should be able to look forward to a beautifully lush and green lawn for the summer. It’s then a case of keeping it that way.

Assuming that we don’t have any hose pipe bans if you water your lawn once a week then that should be sufficient. It’s worth noting every square metre of grass needs about 20 litres of water every 7 days to keep it nice and healthy….that’s 5 gallons in old money!

And remember, if all of this lawn preparation and garden maintenance seems a bit too taxing then you can always call on the team here at Gardenbusters to do it for you. It’s what we’re here for!

Posted by & filed under Garden Maintenance, Latest News.

If you’ve neglected your garden for a while or have just bought or inherited a house where the garden needs a lot of TLC then what lies in store is a project that will keep you occupied for many a week to come!

Your first reaction might be a fairly dramatic one i.e. get a skip and level the garden completely! Our advice is to take stock of the situation and take on the project in bite size chunks. There will probably be elements to the garden that are definitely worth saving and nurturing so read on for a bit of practical advice about how you can start the transformation:

1. Start with any fences or walls that you may have. If they are in need of repair or replacement then make that a priority. Brick walls in particular might need your attention, especially if they are worse for wear and on the verge of collapse. Get some professional advice to make sure your brick walls are safe and fit for purpose and repair or replace any wooden fences that you have.

2. Check out any hedges. If they’ve gone brown by the roots then the chances are they will never be revived so your best option is to remove them. If the hedge is still ok then prune it back.

3. Evaluate the quality of your patio or any paths and steps that you may have. The temptation might be to rip them out but if the condition is still OK then a good jet wash and scrub could make a huge difference and save you a lot of money.

4. What kind of trees have you got? If they are seriously overgrown then you might want to call in a tree surgeon to cut them back or remove them completely. If you live in a conservation area get some advice first because they may be covered by a tree preservation order. Remember trees are great for privacy and providing shade so don’t be too hasty to remove them. At the end of the day your trees might give your garden the kind of balance that it needs.

5. Remove weeds, prune back shrubs and check out the state of your perennials. If the latter is looking worse for wear then remove the dead centre and replant the healthy bits. This will breathe some new life into your perennials and should help revive them.

6. Check out the state of your lawn. The grass is no doubt overgrown so it makes sense to start with the trimmer first before you move onto the lawnmower. Set the blades on your lawnmower to the highest cut and then plough on. Usually the lawn mowing will uncover a multitude of sins such as moss, bald patches, holes, roots etc. You may decide that you want to re-turf at this stage!

All of the above will take tine, patience and not to mention quite a bit of hard graft. When you are faced with a project like this then you have to be realistic about the amount of time you can devote to it and your skills to do the job. This is where Gardenbusters come in! We have many years

experience in transforming neglected gardens so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed then we would be happy to help. Please get in touch and discuss your requirements.

Posted by & filed under Latest News.

After all the storms and floods which have battered our Islands it can sometimes be hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner. However, if you look closely, you can see those early daffodil shoots starting to appear in the hedgerows so we know that time is creeping on.

With the weather being so volatile recently many of us have not had the opportunity to spend time in our gardens and see the full extent of any damage that may have been done. Hopefully the worst of the storms are over now so it’s time to be brave and venture out there!

Now is a good time to think of getting your garden ready for Spring and making sure that you don’t leave it all to the last minute.

Garden preparation tips

Here are a few tips on what you should be doing to gear up for the season:

  • – Prune the roses, peonies, hydrangeas and lavender. If you are unsure what you should be pruning at this time of year then check with your local garden centre.
  • – Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds. These need to be planted in early spring to give you summer colour.
  • – Tidy up your flower beds and borders. Get rid of leaves and any other debris that may have accumulated. After all the storms and heavy rain we have been having you are sure to find all sorts of debris in amongst your flowers and plants so give them a thorough tidy.
  • – Cut back the dead growth on deciduous grasses and herbaceous perennials.
  • – Check your garden over for pests like slugs, snails and aphids and remove them so that they don’t become a nuisance later.
  • – Do those jobs that you hate doing such as cleaning your garden tools and fixing fences, gates etc. Working with dirty garden tools can actually spread bacteria and fungi to your new plants so it’s definitely worth doing.
  • – Think about creating a compost area in your garden. This will give you somewhere to put your garden waste and will also provide you with great compost for your plants at a later date when it all starts to break down.
  • – If you’ve got a greenhouse then give it a thorough ‘Spring Clean’. This will give you somewhere safe and disease-free to keep your trays of seedlings and cuttings.
  • – Consider installing water butts in your garden to capture rainfall. Rainfall is better than normal tap water for watering your flowers and plants because it is less alkaline. You will be doing your plants a service as well as the planet!

So there’s plenty to be getting on with. What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy!