We are all very focused on maintaining our properties, making sure that they are structurally sound and aesthetically appealing. But it is important to remember that we should pay as much care and attention to the gardens and grounds surrounding our homes. This is not just a case of aesthetics because, if neglected, your outside space could have implications on the value of your property.
When speaking to homeowners and property experts, two of the main areas which seem to have the potential to impact on the value of a property are maintenance of trees and control of invasive weeds. Now that the autumn leaves are falling we thought that it was an opportune time to explore some tips for pruning your trees. We also thought we would look at managing invasive weeds in order to keep your property in tip top condition:
Trees in your garden or grounds are very attractive but do require attention to maintain them in optimum health and ensure that they do not encroach on your (or other people’s) house. You may have issues if your tree has grown too big, is blocking daylight or looks in poor condition.
When pruning trees the golden rule is to avoid removing more than 30% of the live foliage from the tree at any one time.
(1) Crown Lifting
This technique involves removing the lower branches of the tree. In this way you can lighten the tree but retain the original shape. This can be done to provide more space over paths or roads or to create more light. Do be mindful though that lower branches have an important role to play in controlling the sway of a tree in high winds.
(2) Crown Reduction
This technique enables you to reduce the overall size of the crown by shortening branches. This technique is often used when a tree has outgrown its space. It tends to be used as a last resort and should always be executed sympathetically ensuring the natural shape of the tree is retained.
(3) Crown Thinning
Involves the selective removal of branches throughout the crown of the tree. You should take care to ensure that the overall shape of the tree is not changed too much. To do this you should work throughout the crown including the outer edges and you should be looking to mainly remove small diameter branches.
This is a regime which, when done correctly, is started when a tree is young and is repeated at regular intervals. In essence, all the branches are taken back to a framework of secondary branches off the main stem. This technique is traditionally used on willows to ensure a constant supply of smaller “poles”. The term is sometimes misused to refer to removing all the branches from a mature tree but this is a very poor practice which causes a great deal of stress to your tree.
Weed control can be a time-consuming and somewhat costly exercise but it is definitely worth taking seriously. An infestation of particularly pervasive weeds can affect the value of your house, or even determine whether it is saleable or not.
Weeds such as bind weed and ground elder spread quickly and can be incredibly difficult to completely remove because even if the smallest amount of root is left in the soil the infestation can flair up.
One of the most invasive weeds we have in the UK is Japanese knotweed. It is an extremely resilient plant and it is very difficult to get rid of once it is fully established. Fallopia japonica, was first brought to Europe from Japan in the 19th century by Phillipp von Siebold, a German botanist who discovered it growing on the sides of volcanoes. It gained popularity and was planted in gardens across the country. However, it fell out of favour when people began to realise that it’s extensive and rapidly growing root system can wreak havoc on building foundations, drains, roads, pavements, retaining walls and flood defences. These days this aggressive plant costs the economy around £166m every year in weed control and property devaluation.
How to deal with invasive weeds:
If you have a weed infestation it may be tempting to try to deal with it yourself. This is not an easy process. Be wary of trying to contain weeds by cutting them back as they will only grow back more vociferously.
The only real options are to try to dig them out – meaning that the soil must be removed right down to the roots and will then need to be responsibly disposed of; or you will need to use a chemical treatment to kill the weed. It could take up to three years of treatment to fully eradicate a very invasive weed and it is often best to bring in a specialist who will know the best way to tackle it. Whilst it will cost you money in the short-term it will probably save you further expense in the long term and it may even save you the value of your house.
About the author
Danielle comes from a marketing and media background, with over 20 years experience in her field which includes tenures at a number of distinguished Cheshire-based magazines and marketing agencies. Danielle has responsibility for marketing at Rickit…
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