Tim Burr

Latest posts by Tim Burr

Impact of lowering soil level on existing trees

Posted: 14/05/2016 at 15:03

Tree roots go outwards as well as down so any attempt to reduce the soil below the current level will create an issue with exposing the roots which may be just below the surface (ie, one or two feet down). If you expose them you would then probably want to cut them off, and then you risk the tree no longer being anchored with the risk of it toppling over especially in a high wind or even strong breeze.  On a mature tree, the roots dispersal can be as wide at the canopy, however, it will depend on the tree.  As a good guide you can do a root:trunk ratio of 12:1.  So for every 1 inch of trunk diameter, the roots go out by 12 inches.  So if the diameter of the trunk is 20 inches, you're looking at around 240 inches or 20 foot.  I don't see how you can feasibly reduce the level of the ground a tree is already planted in without doing serious damage to the tree or killing it.  You either need to leave them be, or make the difficult decision to remove them, lower the ground and replant with same or something different in the newly lowered ground.

Cat scent!

Posted: 14/05/2016 at 13:05

Chicken wire isn't that razor sharp Korno.  If something jumped on it its likely to simple fold and buckle under the weight.

Weeding My Boarders

Posted: 14/05/2016 at 10:05

To fix up the lawn you need to weed and feed it which, unless you want to do lots of hard work, is going to have be a chemical solution.  Use a proprietary brand of lawn feed and weed.  I prefer to use a liquid form, rather than granules but its what you prefer.  Be careful if you're using a weeding solution where you have children and/or pets.  Ideally you should not allow both on to the lawn until its washed into the soil through action of rain or watering, so if you do it when you know its going to rain in a day or so, then that's ideal.  You also need to be careful if you put out any pets on your lawn, such as rabbits or guinea pigs - they won't be able to go out for weeks or even a month or so until all the weedkiller has flushed out of the soil and cut the grass for at least 3/4 times.  I'm sure people will say they put weed/feed on their lawns all the time and allow children/pets on it, but can't be too cautious in my view.  Just read the label to see whats in it and you'll understand.

Lilly beatles

Posted: 14/05/2016 at 09:28

Garlic water sprayed on Lilly plants will deter beetles and its not toxic to animals or yourself.  Simply take 3 cloves of garlic, crush it, put in a pan of 2 pints of water, boil for 3 minutes, leave to go cool, and then use around one tablespoon of the concentrated garlic water to one gallon of water.  Add a little bit of washing up liquid (this makes the water stick to the leaves), and spray the plants all over, not forgetting the underside of the leaves where the often lurk.  You can also use the same for slugs/snail, and aphids.

Cat scent!

Posted: 14/05/2016 at 09:19

Simplest thing to do is simply use a piece of chicken wire on a roll and stop access to the area by segregating the area off so the cat can't gain access.  Only need to do it for a week or so, and the smell will go and the cat will move on to somewhere else.  If you must allow your cat to go outside, then you obviously need a place for them to go, ideally in your own garden to avoid the wrath of your neighbours who are a fickle breed.  My cat uses a litter tray indoors, and will come in from the garden when she needs to spend a penny or two!  She is far too posh to go outside!

Weeding My Boarders

Posted: 14/05/2016 at 09:12

If you mulch (google it!) the borders it will not only help to improve the soil structure and keep moisture in so you don't need to water so much, mulch will also suppress weeds.  Another good way of keep weeds down is to try and pack your borders out with plants so weeds can't get in edgeways.  If you want  to fill borders cheaply, go for plants that will wander freely, such as Geranium, or Vinca Minor (aka Periwinkle), both of which provide ground cover and then you can plant amongst it.  Never let weeds flower - you don't want more seed dispersed into the gardens.  Hoeing is also good, and to do it on a nice hot sunny day.  You breaks up the top few inches of the soil and it looses it up so weeds lose their foothold, and expose roots to the air, which will kill them off.

Sorry to hear about your lawn - sounds like a duff job.  You need to get them back in to review their work.  What they've done doesn't sound like good job or good turf.  Any reputable supplier would not have weeds growing in their turf.  

Drainage problem with old pond

Posted: 10/05/2016 at 23:39

Hi, I don't think there will be any issue with filling the bottom of the hole with hardcore, and it will make the ground above more free draining.  The only issue could be that in very wet weather, you might find water seeping in from surrounding area where the draining isn't so good, so you will have a patch which always fills with water when it rains heavily and for a sustained period of time, like winter period.  You could end up with a bit of a bog garden!! To be honest, there may be no way of knowing until you fill the hole in and see what happens.  You should also be aware that after a period of time, the ground may sink as the soil and hardcore settle, so unless you want a dip in the garden (which again, may cause a puddle as it becomes a sump), be prepared to throw in some more top soil to bring it up to the same level as the rest of the garden.

I'm thinking if you plan to line it with a membrane and fill with rubber bark that it will simply fill up with water and because it will be lower then the surrounding area, it will become a huge puddle as the water collected in the membrane won't have anywhere to run to.  I think you would be better raising it slightly above the level of the surrounding ground (even 6/12 inches will be enough) so you can allow water to drain out.

Drainage problem with old pond

Posted: 09/05/2016 at 20:49

If its not been very dry, I doubt it will drain away as probably as soon as you empty it, more water will seep in from surrounding area.  You might have a high water table, which is not unusual in areas which have poor drainage which occurs on heavy soils like clay.  You could also have a soil pan where the ground has been compacted over many years and the only way to cure that is to try and break it up.  Pickaxes and lots of sweat and toil comes to mind.  The fact that the pond was already raised says something.  It may be that the previous owners tried to put in a pond in before at ground level only to come a cropper when they dug down deep so to get around it, put in a raised pond.

Spraying weeds growing in neighbours garden

Posted: 08/05/2016 at 13:56

If there is just a wire fence, then its probably impossible to not let a bit of the weedkiller go over the boundary line, so in that respect, I wouldn't worry too much.  Even better if you're a bit elderly with poor eyesight and a jittery hand.  You could wait until you are sure there is nobody at home and then go out and spray.  They probably won't really understand why the weeds have died (you can just say they must be seasonal!!).   I doubt police would prosecute for criminal damage for a bunch of dead weeds, but they might have a stern word if they were being particularly nasty.

Where I live, I've got a nice elderly chap around the corner who always makes his front garden look stunning - whilst next door, they have allowed all sorts of weeds to grow in their borders including dandelions, plantains and thistles.  It does look a bit of a sorry mess.  I really feel sorry for the elderly guy but actually, when I spoke to him he said he just gets on with what he has to do, and doesn't get stressed with what goes on next door.  'Each to their own', he said.

Best half barrel liner

Posted: 08/05/2016 at 13:31

Do you mean those trugs?  They'll be fine for maybe a couple of seasons or so but left out in the weather and sun, they will go brittle and then have a tendency to break.  I think they must be made of rubber, rather than plastic so over time the rubber loses its vulcanisation.

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