Q: Dorothy Fillery – I have a walnut tree in the garden that seems to have crumbling bark, a lot of dead wood and Ivy covering a lot of it. What can I do to help save it?
A: Hiya Dorothy, it’s difficult to answer this question without seeing your tree but I can offer you some general advice. If your tree is struggling, it’s best to remove the ivy from it. When removing ivy, don’t just cut it to the base – dig out its roots and remove the top growth too. I speak from experience, dead ivy left in a tree looks horrible and is more difficult to remove when it has dried out and gone brittle. And if you just chop ivy to the ground it will grow back in a flash.
Dead wood can be cut out in winter but it’s generally best to wait until late summer before pruning walnuts, as they can bleed sap from the cuts if pruned at other times.
Q: Joanne Hart – Do I need to prune a weeping willow tree?
A: Only if it has become too large. Willows can be hard pruned, right back to the trunk (pollarded) and will regrow quickly. Willows are best pruned between November and February.
Q: Clare Madderson – Hi when can I start pruning my rose bushes, I am learning. X
A: Good news… the next month or so is a good time to prune them. The basic aim with pruning shrub roses is to remove any weak, spindly growth and reduce the height of the main stems by about a third.
Q: Margaret Deery – I read that you shouldn’t grow Clematis in a pot. I have one growing over an archway. Should I put it in the ground?? Thank you.
A: Hi Margaret – yes, clematis are generally not considered to be the best plants for pots as they appreciate a cool moist root run in the soil. But if it works for you then enjoy it and don’t worry about what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do. If you do decide to put it in the ground, dig some compost into the soil, plant it deeply and place a roof tile or paving slab over the roots once it has been planted. This will shade the roots and help give it conditions it loves.