Tim Burr


Latest posts by Tim Burr

When to prune Solanum dulcamara (Woody Nightshade)

Posted: 09/06/2016 at 08:13

Solanum dulcamara or Woody Nightshade has really taken off this year and now gone a bit rampant.  It has flowered wonderfully, but now coming to the end, and I need to get control of it.  It is planted up against a fence, but is not supported (other than by itself) but has managed to grow to to around 12 feet tall (fence is around 6 foot tall).  I was thinking of taking the longest stems along the fence to reduce height, and then prune out the stems that stick out into the border.  But when it the best time to do this?  The flowers are turning into berries, so wondering if its best to leave it now and wait until autumn/winter or spring next year, however, I was wanting to get into tackling it now, as it is set behind (and growing into) a Kerria Japonica which has also flowered and I want to cut that back to encourage new growth for flowering.  The mix of the colours from the yellow Kerria and the purple Solanum have been wonderful, but now paying for that! 

What is this grass/weed and how can I stop it taking over my lawn?

Posted: 31/05/2016 at 22:58

I wouldn't have thought that they would have put such a pernicious grass seed in to the mix.  Its probably appeared form somewhere else.  Birds eat grass seed and then poop on your lawn as they fly over head.

What is this grass/weed and how can I stop it taking over my lawn?

Posted: 31/05/2016 at 22:40

I think you'd be better to dig out rather than use roundup on it.  You'll effectively get the same result (ie, dead patch of lawn), but by digging it out, you would be removing the roots and all and you can fill the hole left in the turf by putting in clean top soil making it a good bed for new seed.  I've noticed in places where the Yorkshire Fog is, the area is very dense and excludes the other grass from growing. 

What is this grass/weed and how can I stop it taking over my lawn?

Posted: 31/05/2016 at 22:17

I think I've got Yorkshire Fog in my lawn.  It started as one patch and now has spread to around 4/5 other patches and more appearing.  Its definitely not couch grass, which i recognise.  Couch grass tends to be thin and lanky, but this grass is quite thick - bit like rye grass.  I think I have got it initially from the bird seed as the main patch of it is near to where I used to have the feeder.  My lawn was only re-turfed about 5 years ago, but it is slowly being ruined.  If I was to fix it, then the only thing I think I could do is dig out the offending patch and then either re-seed or re-turf the patch, however, it would never look the same as the rest of the lawn.  I am getting to the point of thinking I might get somebody in to remove all the current turf and re-turf again.  

Slup pellets

Posted: 31/05/2016 at 22:00

I use the ferris pellets, which are said to be organic friendly.  I've done some research and its suggested wildlife eating the ferris pellet (with a slug or snail wrapped around it!) won't be harmed.  And they also reckon that snails/slugs that eat the ferris pellets generally return to die underground as they aren't killed immediately but simply stop them from feeding and then they starve to death.  I usually use the pellets early in the season as the slugs and snails emerge from winter hibernation, and before the critters and frogs come out of the pond.  That kills off a lot of slugs/snails and then I use them sparingly throughout the rest of the year and it keeps them in check.

The Decline of Bees

Posted: 31/05/2016 at 19:39

Interesting article in Telegraph suggesting the decline of the bee population is down to gardeners.  Right, I'll beat myself with a stick right now.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/05/31/gardeners-fueling-bee-decline-by-using-weedkillers-and-pesticide/

Have I been stupid?

Posted: 30/05/2016 at 18:30

You might be lucky if we have another mild winter.  Ironically, I've lost fully hardy plants in the last mild winter.  Just never know.

Laburnum Trees

Posted: 30/05/2016 at 18:28

I love laburnum trees, and would happily have one or two in my garden, but somebody told me that if I came to sell the house I'd have to chop the trees down as unlikely any family with children would buy it as the trees would put people off.  I know laburnum tree seeds are poisonous as I grew up with one in my garden and remember my mother telling me not to eat the seats when I was about 4/5 years old - she told me although they look like pea pods they weren't and I shouldn't eat or play with them.  Suited me as I don't like peas!!  Are peoples fears of laburnum trees that bad?  Surely parents these days have the same common sense as my mother did and just warn the children off.  And a laburnum tree wold be the least of their problems - they would also have to avoid the Acotnitum, Digitalis, Solanum dulcamara, and Narcissus then, and keep away from the pond whilst they're at it! 

Please identify this weed for me

Posted: 29/05/2016 at 18:22

Had this in my previous garden.  I just persisted in pulling it up and after 4/5 seasons it becomes very weak and just eventually loses the will to live and dies.  No chemicals used.

Weeds ?

Posted: 29/05/2016 at 14:56

Thanks Pete - yes, spotted after I posted that somebody else had posted a picture of a similar looking 'weed' under a different thread.  Looks fairly similar.  First time I've seen it in the garden and appears to have appeared literally from nowhere.  Somebody said its got sticky seeds so probably brought in by either the foxes, hedgehogs or the millions of cats that use my front garden as a thoroughfare.

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