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The winds of change

The heat goes on and hurricanes can be more prevalent.

It gives reason to checking the garden for excess growth and pruning accordingly to reduce the potential impact on bushes, and especially trees, and retain a reasonably good branch structure for future growth. Large trees, such as black ebony, poinciana and orchid tree, can be severely damaged. Having large boughs ripped off can reduce the tree to a poor specimen and even subject to disease problems if tissue is damaged and not treated.

Fertiliser application can be a problem during the summer months, with either the dry conditions or heat. It is not advisable to apply granular fertiliser on either occasion when temperatures are hovering near the high 70s, and especially so in severe drought conditions. In such cases consider applying liquid feeds through a hose-end feeder container; when watering via a hosepipe always keep the hose in the shade and run any lying water from the hose end before applying to the soil.

Hoses left in full sun with water in them will, by the very nature of the heat in the hose, have very hot water flowing as soon as you turn on the tap.

When considering planting trees, palms and shrubs which have potential to attain a large size, think long-term in understanding their growth habit and characteristics.

I have noticed since the two hurricanes last year the number of uprooted trees, palms and shrubs with ruptured root systems breaking the soil surface and the trunks leaning against walls.

Of course it has caused the latter to be dislodged or moved in such a manner, the trunk of the tree is anchoring the wall in place until the trunk is moved. Hedges should be planted a minimum of three feet from the boundary to allow for growth to fill in before it reaches over your neighbour's side.

By right, he can cut it back to his boundary, which then leaves enough of the growth on your side to act as a screen.

This is not always the case when hedges are planted right on the boundary line and then cut back, thus creating an uneven balance of growth with one side “heavier” than the other. Examine “strange” and “new” plants as to their true identity as many suspect plants could well be weeds introduced during the summer months, especially when seed is dispersed. This has been a major problem when roadsides and railway trails have become havens for weeds to become established and seeds deposited in the soil to germinate at their leisure.

Remember, a weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted and is in competition with a desired plant; this includes plants ordinarily deemed garden plants that have self-seeded themselves and germinated in situ.

Lawns can be readily stressed during long periods of drought, especially if they do not lie over a good depth of soil or soil and “soft” material. Weeds can be a problem, but care needs to be taken in the exercise of controlling them, as it is best to apply spot treatment control but only after the weed areas have been watered in so surrounding grass is not stressed by the chemical's active ingredient. Remember, the grass type will dictate in many cases, the type of chemical required for the control process.

Malcolm Griffiths

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Published September 15, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated September 15, 2015 at 3:07 am)

The winds of change

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