Thursday, 14 January 2016

Time to check and prune pleached trees

Many of our clients have pleached trees, also called espaliered trees. It's that time of year where we start checking and retying tree ties in our clients' gardens. This is an almost impossible job to do when leaves are on the trees so now is the ideal time of year to get out on the ladder and ensure all tree ties are both still in place and also not too tight. If a tie has broken, the tree can be subject to wind damage. On the other hand, if a tree has grown substantially since the ties were last done, the ties could be too tight and be strangling the plant. We try not to use wire when tying in the tree, but use either natural string or plastic clips as they are less prone to cutting into the bark of the tree.

Tips for Tying Trees:
1. Don't use wire.
2. Leave room for a small amount of movement and, of course, plant growth. After all, the tighter you tie, the more frequently you'll have to check and retie. Also if you tie too tight, the tree won't develop it's own natural strength to be able to sustain winds and environment on it's own.
3. Remember staking and tying trees is not about supporting the plant everyday, but ensuring it's stable from unexpected knocks and strong winds.
4. Use spacers to ensure stake doesn't rub the stem
5. Remember that high quality pleached trees will need pruning, tying in and maintenance at least twice during a single growing season.
6. After bad weather, check for abrasions and snapped ties.

Photo credit: Shutterstock