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Gardening Advice & Tips for Irish Gardeners

National Tree Week 2014

By the end of the week, Ireland will have an additional 15,000 trees growing on it's soil as National Tree Week returns. The Tree Council of Ireland & Coillte will be giving away 2,000 trees a day to schools and other groups to plant in local communities. The result will be a greener and more tree rich landscape for us all.

National Tree Week

For almost 30 years the Tree Council has been organizing this event which has now seen almost 500,000 trees planted in Ireland in that time. This is a huge effort and contribution which not only improves our countryside but also connects our communities and schools to nature and helps us all learn a bit more about our native trees and surroundings

There is however one tree that won’t be planted this year. Our native Ash, Fraxinus excelsior, due to a disease which it has recently become susceptible too it can not be sold, planted or moved. With this in mind, the Tree Council have chosen this week to raise awareness of the problem facing our Ash tree with Information and talks being held regarding the issue.

Events taking place around the country include...

  • In Co. Laois: The Glenbarrow walk. A 2 hr walk along the newly renovated trail.
  • In Dublin: Tree Identification. Edenmore Park with 3rd & 4th Class.
  • Tree planting with local primary schools including: Drimnagh Castle national School, Saint Raphael’s National School, Ballyfermot, St. Ultan's National School, Saint Pius X School, amongst others
  • Tree planting demonstration:  Ellenfield park, Whitehall, Dublin 9

If you want to do your bit for National Tree Week, you or your local community group can apply for free trees from the Tree Council. March is the ideal time of year to plant trees as the trees will still be dormant but the weather will be getting warmer and growing will start soon.

To plant young sapling trees there are a few things to remember...

Location

  • Choose a sheltered spot – free from strong, cold winds
  • A trees needs at least 1 ½ ft of good topsoil to grow to maturity

Handling

  • Keep your plant’s roots moist at all times
  • You should plant your trees the moment you receive them
  • If you are unable to plant them, then be sure to keep their roots covered and store in a frost free location
  • Soak roots regularly until planted
  • Ideally you should heel them into the ground until you are ready to sow

Soil Preparation

  • If you plan on planting a large number of trees then you would be best to prepare the soil prior to receiving your trees
  • Dig a planting hole to fit the size of tree you are buying.
  • Ideally the hole should be at least 2 ft wide & 1 ft deep, but larger for larger plants
  • Add a fork full of well rotted manure to the base of the hole and mix through the top soil

Planting

  • Soak the bare roots or potted plants in water for 10 minutes
  • When planting, spread out plants roots and ensure plant is at the right depth
  • The top of their roots should be about an inch below the soil surface
  • Press in the soil well with your foot – while doing so make sure plant depth & level is right

Support & Aftercare

  • Young saplings benefit from a bamboo cane for support in their early years
  • Take care when positioning the cane to avoid damage to the plant’s roots
  • If you are growing in the countryside, you should consider protecting your trees from rabbits using rabbit proof tree spiral guards
  • You should feed your young trees in April and June each year until established. A general multi purpose feed such as fish blood and bone would be ideal
  • But most important is to ensure that the trees are keep moist. Water again directly after planting and once every week for the first months

Mycorrhizal Fungi These micro organisms can be added to the planting hole at time of planting to give a real boost to your plants during their formative years. Mycorrhizal fungi have a symbiotic relationship with plant roots and aid water and nutrient uptake.

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