Tree and hedge maintenance


Pruning trees

The beauty of a garden is reflected primarily in the show of flourishing, healthy plants it contains. Be they evergreen or deciduous, fruit-bearing or ornamental, trees are a fundamental feature, whether of large landscaped areas and parks or small town gardens, as they generate perspective depth, create intimate and inviting corners, and give shade in summer. Trees and plants need to be tended carefully and treated continuously: so here are a few thoughts on the more important operations involved in ensuring they are properly looked after.

Why, how and when to prune?

There are several reasons why trees and plants need pruning: to check excessive growth; to control the development of grafted plants (fruit-bearing or ornamental); to promote fl owering or fruiting; to give new life to ageing or weakened plants; to clear away dead branches that have died off or are growing irregularly, and thus control the shape of the plant; to correct imbalances caused by previous pruning; and to favour the outcome of a transplantation, reducing leaf transpiration.
Pruning requires skill and patience; it is important to keep the harmony and growth of the tree in mind, avoiding injudicious and harmful actions such as indiscriminate cutting. Pruning must be done at the proper time and in proper proportion – according to the type of plant – but equally, using the right technique: in effect,
the cut should be clean and made obliquely, near to a bud or a knot, preferably on branches of smaller rather than large diameter.

Care of hedges and collection of leaves

Hedges help to increase the amount of green that meets the eye. They have a significant influence on the personality of a garden, not least as they can be fashioned into attractive and original shapes. Essential operations in any maintenance programme include periodic thinning out of unduly dense growth, so that air can circulate at the centre of the foliage and strengthen the base of the plant; also keeping the outer surface compact by frequently trimming new growth, being careful at the same time not to take too much off and open up unsightly and “holes” that can be harmful to the plant; and removing dry or damaged growth, especially in spring and autumn.

Growing and keeping a luxuriant hedge

Before planting a hedge, care must be taken to plot the position of trees or shrubs so as to ensure compliance with legal constraints and with any pertinent local regulations. The best time to plant a hedge is between the beginning of autumn and the beginning of spring. To cultivate a full hedge of the desired shape, the single bushes or shrubs must be planted close together, and it will be necessary to trim the topmost branches from the second year of growth onwards, so as to encourage the growth of buds on the lower branches. To achieve satisfying results and work in safety, these are jobs that need to be done using the right machines. The hedgetrimmer is designed for accuracy; it offers the kind of clean and sharp cut needed in order to obtain the desired visual effect and safeguard the health of the plant.

Cleaning up leaves and other debris

Lawns and paths can be kept clear of leaves, twigs and all kinds of debris using blowers and vacuum cleaners, offered in hand-held and backpack versions. From appliances available currently on the market, users can find the technological solution best able to meet their particular operating requirements. These are specific purpose machines, easy to handle, that will get the job done simply, swiftly and quietly. Certain models of blower, generally with an internal combustion engine, can be converted easily to operate as vacuum cleaners by fitting a special collection kit, with a blade by which vacuumed material is chopped up to reduce the volume when inside the bag. They can also be equipped with anti-vibration systems that isolate the engine from the handgrips and the body of the machine, significantly reducing the level of vibration transmitted to the operator when in use.

Select the most suitable machine

The use of suitable pruning equipment will help to ensure that plants grow in the proper way and make them easier to look after. Selection of the best tool is evaluated on the basis of individual needs and preferences, taking the advice of experts.
Pruning operations can be done using chain saws and pruners: the market offers a wide variety of chain saws to cater for the different requirements of users everywhere. Anyone with a small garden can use one of these machines simply for pruning the thicker branches of trees, but if there happens to be a fireplace in the home, a chainsaw will also be handy for chopping up logs. The same goes for pruners: small pruning chain saws that can
be used to cut branches located high up and not easily accessible.
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