Tuesday 2 December 2014

Let there be light!

My little back garden (aka Veg plot) has the blessing of seclusion, but unfortunately it comes at a price. Direct sunlight is in short supply - especially as the trees get bigger. I have three trees in the plot: a Bronze Maple, an Autumn-flowering Cherry, and of course the "Fish tree" (actually a Cockspur Thorn). So in order to provide my veggies with a bit more light last weekend I had a serious pruning session.

Maple at right, in front of shed. Cherry in centre, behind ladder.

The Maple is too big for me to tackle (it has to be done a by a professional tree-surgeon), but I have successfully removed some branches from both of the others. This is when I am so glad that I have a proper pruning-saw, which makes the task really easy. However, the thing that has made the biggest difference is pruning the big Bay tree. This is more of a huge bush than a real tree, but it is exceptionally vigorous and puts out a massive amount of new growth every year.

 In the photo above you are looking more-or-less East, so you can probably imagine how the Bay tree blocks the morning light unless kept under severe control.

I'm happy with how the Bay tree looks now - though it will probably need trimming again this time next year - but the problem I have now is how to dispose of the trimmings. The garden is full of branches! It always surprises me how much bigger tree branches look when you get them down to ground level. Normally I would save a few of the Bay leaves for culinary purposes, but we already have a big bag of them in the freezer (this saves having to go out in the cold / dark / wet garden when you need a leaf!).

What I plan to do is use the saw to cut the bigger branches into short lengths so that I can add them to my log-pile / insect hotel, and then snip the leafy branches into pieces small enough to be stuffed into old compost sacks for taking to the tip. Sounds easy, but I expect it will take ages. Still, tasks like this have to be seen in the wider context: a day's worth of work will help the whole plot to do better for a year, so it will definitely be worth the effort. Now all we need is some sunlight, which is in short supply right now.

Some time soon I am also going to remove the white Buddleia bush. I have decided that it doesn't deserve a place in the garden because it's flowers are nowhere near as attractive as the purple version, and more importantly the butterflies don't seem to like it.

Faded Buddleia flowers go brown and don't look nice at all, and it is not really practical to dead-head a huge bush, so the flowers have to be very good to earn their keep. I think this task will have to wait a bit though - at least until I have cleared away the first lot of prunings.


  1. I don't have many tall trees in the yard (just one maple in the front). But I trim up all of my dwarf fruit trees that litter the yard. Usually in very early spring before the leaf out.

  2. Those buddleia faded brown flower heads also throw out seeds everywhere. It's amazing where they will grow,

    We've done quite a lot of hacking - sorry pruning - this year

  3. We had a tree where some of the lower branches were so heavy & large that they were hanging almost to the ground - getting underneath the tree to mulch & weed was not easy. It's amazing what removing a few branches can do. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about what to do with the trimmings, which are typically used as firewood & kindling.


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