Let more light into your house and garden

Let more light into your house and garden

Trees that have been allowed to grow too tall can soon impact on light levels in your garden and home. Particularly during winter, when light levels are reduced and the sun is lower in the sky, evergreen trees can stop much-needed light from entering your home, creating a gloomy interior. Lack of natural sunlight flooding into your home can also make your interior rooms colder, and you may have to put on the heating more frequently, impacting on your energy bills. If you are trying to sell your home, lofty trees that block light getting into your home may even put potential buyers off.

It’s not just the inside of your home that can be negatively affected by the lack of light caused by tall trees. Your garden will be cast in shade, meaning that it may suffer more from damp and poor drainage. You may be limited by the types of plants or flowers that will thrive in your garden, and there may be fewer spots to enjoy sunbathing on a warm day.

Getting a tree surgeon to reduce the height of any billowing trees you have can allow light to shine back into your home and garden again.

Removing a Stump

Tree stumps can be left in the ground after felling but this can lead to problems with suckering where new shoots arise from the trunk and roots.

Completely dead stumps won’t form suckers, but they can play host to root diseases such as honey fungus, so aren’t worth leaving in and taking the risk.
When to remove a stump
Tree stumps can be physically removed any time. Paying tree surgeons to remove stumps when they are felling the tree is the most convenient way to remove stumps.
Chemical stump killers need to be applied to freshly cut wood, so are best applied immediately after felling. Otherwise, they will need to be recut before the product is applied.
Physical stump removal
This is the best solution. Ideally the stump should be removed entirely, but if this is not possible alternative methods usually give satisfactory results.
For smaller trees the stumps can be pulled out with a winch. These can be hired by gardeners with the knowledge to use them safely. For leverage it is necessary to leave a good sized stub on the stump (up to 1.2m (4ft) high) rather than cutting it off at ground level.

Grubbing out by hand or mechanical mini-excavator removes the majority of the root system. Removal is easiest if trees are cut down so that a significant length of trunk remains to give leverage to help in removal. Landscape contractors are often skilled at stump removal, but you can hire mini-excavators and operators separately.

Alternatively, machines known as stump grinders will mechanically grind out the main root plate, leaving fine sawdust. Although stump grinders can be hired, they are potentially hazardous and are only for gardeners confident that they can use machinery safely. Some roots will inevitably be left in the ground but the majority should eventually rot down.
It is worth specifying how deep you would like the stump ground to. Shallow grinding, 20-25cm (8-10in), is normally sufficient for laying turf, but you should allow for deeper, 30cm (12in), or more if replanting or landscaping. Also think about what you want to do with the sawdust. It can be left to fill in the hole, used as mulch in other areas of the garden, or taken away by the contractors. Specify which of these you would prefer before the work is started and be sure to have any diseased wood removed completely.
Methods to avoid
We do not recommend burning down stumps in situ. They are usually too wet for this. Applying nitrate fertilisers also does not improve their burning qualities, or speed up rotting, even though these fertilisers are oxidising agents.
For advice and to receive a quote please contact Leaf Matters www.leafmatters.co.uk

Invasive plants in woodlands and hedgerows

There are many invasive species in various habitats across the UK and, like any other habitat, woodland has several which threaten the native species found there.
Invasive species are so called because they have a negative effect on the habitat they are growing in. Invasive species can be native or non-native.
In woodlands, invasive species can take over huge areas of habitat, out-competing other species as well as influencing diseases present. Here are a few you might find on your woodland walk.
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
A non-native species, originally introduced into gardens, this plant has rapidly spread across areas of the countryside in the UK.
It is a perennial, which can grow around two to three metres tall and the roots can be several metres deep. It has rounded leaves with a pointed tip, growing in an alternate formation. Due to its robust nature this plant grows in various habitats including along woodlands, roadside verges, rivers as well as wasteland. It also has the ability to grow through concrete.Japanese knotweed dominates areas and out-competes other species. All the plants of this species in Britain are male sterile clones and so do not produce viable seeds. However, it spreads very quickly via rhizomes at a rate of around 10cm each day. A very small fragment of rhizome can give rise to a whole new plant. Less than one gram is able to spark new growth!
Japanese knotweed can be seen across large areas during the summer but when winter arrives the plant dies back leaving the bare earth vulnerable to erosion, especially if it is growing along rivers.Controlling this species is very difficult and a combination of cutting and spraying is often used, although this still takes several years. Disposal also has to be carried out under strict guidelines to prevent any potential growth in other areas. Control of Japanese knotweed costs millions of pounds each year.
Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum)
Native to parts of the Mediterranean and Asia, this evergreen bush can be considered an attractive plant, with its long leaves and purple flowers. It is however a huge problem in many areas across the UK. It’s able to dominate a variety of habitats, especially woodland, and can also grow well in disturbed areas.Once established, rhododendron out-competes other species and shades out woodland ground flora. It also has toxins which reduce foliage growth of other species and which make it unappetising for grazing animals. It spreads via vegetative propagation and seed dispersal, so is difficult to control as each flower produces several thousand seeds each year.It’s not just Rhododendron ponticum that’s a problem. There are many rhododendron hybrids in the UK. For example Rhododendron x superponticum is a highly invasive species.As well as out-competing other species, rhododendron can also aid in the spread of Sudden Oak Death, which in the UK affects our native larch, rather than oak. The effect of climate change is also likely to benefit this species, as it is native to areas which are drier with a higher temperature, so it may become more of a problem in the future.

Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
There is nothing more pleasing than seeing a carpet of native bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) across the woodland floor in early spring, but in fact many of these displays have been invaded by the non-native Spanish bluebell.This species was originally grown in gardens but has escaped and crossbred with the native bluebell. This creates a hybrid which is fertile. Many people do not see this as a problem but it means that the individual qualities of the native UK bluebell are reduced and losing the qualities of a true British flower is very sad indeed.You can tell the two different kinds of bluebells apart by looking at the pollen. The Spanish bluebell has green-blue pollen, whereas the native has white-cream.
Three-cornered garlic (Allium triquetrum)
This plant appears to fit in well with the native flora, with its green, three-angled stem and white flowers but it is non-native to the UK.The plant produces seeds, which are then spread by ants. Growing well on disturbed areas it can be found along woodland edges as well as other habitats such as roadside verges and hedgerows. Even though it is small in size when compared to other invasive species, it produces areas of dense flowers which out-compete native wild flowers, such as violets.Invasive species have unfortunately spread across much of the countryside, often due to irresponsible disposal of garden waste as well as escaping from gardens. Therefore it is important to monitor where these plants are located, and the effect they have on our native flora.

Based in Sevenoaks we can provide tree surgery services across Kent and these areas

We accept tree surgery enquiries from all these areas

Leaf Matters Professional Tree Surgery Ltd are tree surgeons in Sevenoaks offering tree felling, tree clearing, hedge maintenance, pruning and reducing. We are available for tree planting and advice on tree ecology as well as emergency tree work. Based in Sevenoaks we are happy to offer our tree surgery services all around the Sevenoaks area.

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