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Tim Burr

Latest posts by Tim Burr

Talkback: Wet weather and wildlife

Posted: 09/08/2012 at 22:03
I was in the garden last weekend and noticed a right racket coming from the bird feeder. Turned around and saw a pair of sparrows with at least four newly fledged chicks. And this week have noticed the starlings appear to have had a second brood as several starlings look like theyve just left the nest. I know birds can have second broods but first year I've actually ever noticed fledgings in August. My hedgehog comes around for his (or her) nightly feed, but fills up on mealworm and "Spike" hog food that he takes no interest in the slugs! Bees have seemed a bit more active with the warmer weather. Have seen a few butterflies flitting around the garden - quite a few whites, and a handful of red ones (admirals?)

Using vinegar to kill weeds

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 16:32
My sister-in-law needs to regain control over her garden and she has a lot of annual and perennial weeds growing in the beds. She doesnt want to use chemical weedkillers because of the wildlife in her garden (badgers and foxes). Ive researched and found that an organic alternative is vinegar which when sprayed on the plant will kill it. I believe it needs to be mixed with washing up liquid. Anybody used vinegar on weeds and can confirm its success or otherwise. She has lots of bindweed, nettles, thistles, and established bramble as well as the annual weeds. I think the annuals can simply be hoed into the soil, and as long as they are not flowering or setting seeds, will just dissapear quietly as long as the ground is hoed regularly to stop them re-establishing.

rooms in my garden

Posted: 04/08/2012 at 22:56
Start with a simple trellis at a third and two thirds down the garden, and if possible, have them on opposite sides of the garden so your eye cant see all the way to the bottom of the garden. Behind the trellis you can put a bench, or a single seat. Put climbers up that have good scent (honeysuckle).

To lift or not

Posted: 04/08/2012 at 22:52
Great plants, but not particularly gardener friendly! Just like pyracantha which jumps out from the border with those deadly needles! I moved into a house once where the previous owner worked for the local authority. I'm sure he acquired a few of the council's parks and garden surplus' because it was full of berberis and pyracantha which councils like because they are less likely to be abused by the kids and ne'er-do-wells ripping them up or running thru' them. In the end I was so sick to death of being pricked, I hacked them all down to an inch of their life. Needless to say they were back to full strength within 2 years!!

Overgrown Garden

Posted: 04/08/2012 at 22:43
Your best bet (in my view) is to clear out everything you dont want, and start afresh. The lawn will probably be completly shot, and no amount of weeding and feeding will make it into a decent lawn. And any clearing of current weeds will simply be replaced by new ones as you expose the soil as those seeds currently lying dormant will spring into life. If you take off the current turf, you will also be taking away the soil which has been scattered with years of weed seeds. Some seeds can survive up to 50 years in dormancy!!

That new roundup gel

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 19:46
Ive used it on nettles growing in the borders - takes around 10 days. I also used it on a bramble, and did several leaves despite the label saying only needed to do one. However, bramble would survive a nuclear blast, I'm sure, so covering my bets. Two weeks later and bramble still alive, but looking a bit lacklustre compared to two weeks ago. I think patience is the key, however, if you want a garden to look pristine all the time, its probably not for you. You would get fed up waiting and just hand pull the weed (but it will be back!).

How to grow Agapanthus with zero effort-do nothing !

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 23:56
I heard on GQT the other week that those in the know plant agapanthus in the ground still in its pot which the plant loves as it likes its roots to be very restricted. I have my agapanthus growing in a large pot, and every year it seems to improve as more of the pot is taken up.

Japanese knotweed

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 11:24
Japanese knotweed is hollow. Best way of getting the weed killer into,the plant is to cut the stem, leaving about a foot off the ground and then syringe the solution into the hollow. Once you beleive the plant is dead, It is advisable to dig up and take away the soil, as the rhizomes could still be lurking in the ground and the plant could regrow. If you cant take the soil away, then you need to dig over the ground, which may cause new growth from chopped up rhizomes, but they can be treated with weed killer eaiser. It can take several years to be sure to be rid of it completly.

For disposal, you need to contact your local authority who can tell you where to take it. Not all local authority sites will take it. You can burn it, but that can lead to other issues (ie, nuisance and/or pollution).

If the plant is only on your land you could end up causing a private nuisance if you allow it to grow on another property. It must therefore be controlled and preferably eradicated. Conversely, if you have it encroaching on you land from a neighbour, you need to work amicably together to get rid of it.

The plant is covered by the Wildlife and Countryside Act making it an offence to let it grow in the wild - this includes disposing of it which could result in it taking root in the open environment.

Japanese Knotweed can reduce the value of your house - I know one person who had his house value knocked down by ??10K when he was trying to sell it and during the survey it was discovered he had it in his garden (there from a previous owner). When he set about removing it, it was discovered to be invading local authority land, who subsequently told him to remove it and the soil costing ??7K. He then had to indemnify the new property owner against the knotweed from returning for up to 5 years.

I watched a TV programme once where somebody harvested knotweed and served it up as dish -she said it tasted like asparagus!

Good luck!

Harlequin Ladybirds

Posted: 26/07/2012 at 18:22
Thanks guys, although my other half made the decision for me. Went into the kitchen, couldnt work out why there was a ladybird trapped under a glass and let it go free thinking I was going to do the same thing but got distracted half way through!

Harlequin Ladybirds

Posted: 26/07/2012 at 17:22
Ive just found a harlequin ladybird climbing up the inside of my kitchen window. Have caught it and currently have it trapped under a glass on the kitchen table. As these critters are not native to these isles, should I terminate it or live and let live (its not its fault its here?) and let it go free. I did have a look on the following website, but it doesn't say anything about what to do with them when they are found I did fill out the survey though!

Discussions started by Tim Burr

Does Bamboo (Fargesia Robusta) Regrow its leaves

....silly question time! :-) 
Replies: 1    Views: 61
Last Post: Today at 12:41

Monarda still in slumber

Not stirring from winter sleep 
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Downsizing a Bamboo

Overgrown its trough 
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Glyphosate based weed killers (i.e. Roundup et al)

Are you still using it? 
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Last Post: 19/05/2015 at 23:10

Planting Yucca in Ground

Plant these above, below or halfy halfy!! 
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Photinia Red Robin trimming

Too early/too late to trim back 
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Last Post: 10/05/2015 at 12:09

Relocating an Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry'

Wrong tree in the wrong place 
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Last Post: 27/04/2015 at 00:08

Hard pruning a Mahonia

What to do with the cuttings 
Replies: 1    Views: 412
Last Post: 25/04/2015 at 23:22

Camelia not growing, but otherwise health and flowering

Replies: 4    Views: 373
Last Post: 10/05/2015 at 12:52

Conifer for narrow space and upright form

Recommendations please. 
Replies: 4    Views: 418
Last Post: 17/04/2015 at 23:45

Semiarundinaria Fastuosa - Narihira Bamboo (AGM)

Doesn't run, but does it need to be contained? 
Replies: 0    Views: 459
Last Post: 12/04/2015 at 16:32

Do slug eat thru' carrier bags

Replies: 29    Views: 1320
Last Post: 28/08/2014 at 12:45

Crocosmia Lucifer

Early flowering? 
Replies: 29    Views: 2532
Last Post: 06/07/2014 at 19:04

Bamboo in trough

Trimming it down to size 
Replies: 7    Views: 916
Last Post: 24/02/2014 at 19:15


Replies: 9    Views: 1414
Last Post: 04/08/2015 at 19:08
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