Too much of a good thing …

My husband occasionally loves plants to death. When he is doing the watering of our fruit trees he does get over enthusiastic at times and feeds plants that don’t like being fed, and adds all sorts of things in an effort to nourish and speed up the growth process. Unfortunately our young trees don’t quite respond the way he intends and, as a result, die.

Most of us by now have heard that it is a good idea to group plantings by water needs (eg. those that need a lot of water are located near each other to make it easier to water the correct amount). Similarly it is also a good idea to group plantings by the type of soil they need or tolerate (waterlogged ->well drained for example), PH levels – although these can vary across your property (acidic, neutral or alkaline), and even those that like regular/ particular feeding vs those that don’t. Plant notes (the tags that often come with a purchased plant) often provide this information on an individual basis. When you are buying new plants, we can help with suggestions on what you need to consider, and for existing trees the internet can be a great resource. My preferred fruit tree bible is “Discovering Fruit and Nuts” by Susanna Lyle.

For example, deciduous trees (those that lose most or all of their leaves during the colder months)are best left to their own devices until flower or leaf buds burst. Watering at this time can lead to root rot and fungal issues. This period of dormancy is what enables us to transport and transplant plants in a bare-rooted state – as the roots themselves are not seeking nutritional inputs.

Trees tend to be at their hungriest when they are flowering and fruiting, and most prefer slow, regular applications of appropriate food/ supplements (much like us preferring regular meals as opposed to feasts and famines). Spending time enjoying and getting to know your garden and your plants will help you to best identify when something is needed or something is amiss. And isn’t enjoying your garden what it is all about?

Brought to you by Tanya @ Tanby Garden Centre