Trees For Screening
I love trees. Sitting here, I look out at a small forest stretching up the hillside. The leaves gently wave in the winds. However, much of my current labour is about planting trees in the garden. Firstly, we want to turn our new garden into an area that benefits nature. Further, we need these trees to screen us from a neighbours house. We look upon their side wall, a mass of limestone blocks. These are not ugly in themselves rather than a sheet of hard stone which needs softening. I cut one metre wide circles in the lawn and dug the hole in the centre. I incorporated a few handfuls of bone and blood meal into the subsoil. Each tree was planted so its roots stayed at the same level as in the pot. Trees for screening is very satisfying work.
Consequently, two beech, two mountain ash and a silver birch are in position. Ann cut plastic film to act as a mulch mat around each tree. This was well punctured to allow water to seep through and then covered in bark chips. To say these 10′ trees look comfortable is to understate the case. They bend and flutter their leaves in the breeze as they greet the morning sun. I needed to watch them carefully because they were not staked and must not become loose at the base. The bending of the tree in the breeze is essential to strengthen the stem. However, unlike wild trees these potted versions have no tap root. This, in the wild, holds the tree steady. As it was, I detected movement and had to add a cane support to three trees, put at an angle across the stem.
The tree planting continued with a spur of the moment purchase, a damson called Merryweather. I followed the same planting process but the gods had other ideas. A foot down, a concrete block appeared. An hours work followed, excavating around it and until I could get the pick head beneath. I levered up the huge block and could just lift it out of the hole. That tree looks comfortable and we look forward to our first damson crop. That said, damsons are self-fertile and do not need other fruit trees in the vicinity.
I am shocked at how little life exists in this new garden. In 30 square metres of double digging I have found one worm. No ants or woodlice are in the soil. The only birds have been prospecting jackdaws on chimney tops and a magpie. Ann has seen a single robin. The garden is effectively ecologically dead.
Trees for screening
Firstly, the five trees for screening are close together. Secondly, they will grow into each other and form a grove. I will not hesitate to cut one or two out if necessary. Some people see this as a form of vandalism. However, growing them is good for the environment even if they have to be removed after some years. In reality, I will be prepared to cut both beech into columns. This is easily done and keeps these otherwise huge trees to a manageable size. Ultimately, the screening is what matters. Horticulture can be a brutal business but ultimately, nature benefits. So to do we, full of joy as the trees burgeon and life returns.