Creating a hedge and tree pruning are gardening techniques which can be used to great effect in any virtually any size of garden. These techniques can be used to control and direct the size, shape and direction of plant growth. When combined with plant supports, such as trellises and other plants, an interesting garden effect can be created. Of course, pruning is also used to encourage fruit tree growth and to improve plant health by encouraging air circulation. The use of hedge planting and pruning has been a feature of mediterranean gardens and English classic garden design for centuries.
If shrubs and trees are allowed to grow uncontrolled, they may become to large for the space in your garden. Often branches are left at an awkward height near pathways that can result in safety issues. It is often the case that a tree of shrub will become misshaped through natural growth and some pruning is required to improve its aesthetics.
For flowering shrubs and trees, the correct pruning technique will encourage new growth of younger shoots and in some cases more flowering in the longer term. Annual pruning of fruit trees will often result in better quality and larger fruit as well as a reduction in fungal diseases.
Keeping your garden hedge well maintained in the first place, will save you money and add value to your property. A hedge that is not well maintained may not only lose its shape, but will leave bare patches of hedge when it is finally shaped with the trimmer or saw.
Originally developed in Europe to grow fruit trees in a microclimate, a warm wall was used to provide heat and support to the plant. Later, trellises were also used to support espalier plants.
Supports for espalier plants now include wooden, metal and wire supports as well as stone, brick and even glass walls. Espalier is a great technique for improving the look of a fence or wall especially in the case of a small garden.
Pleaching is a great technique for creating a screen for garden privacy. Pleaching can be applied not only in a straight line, but also as a circle or rectangle.
Pleaching is a great way to create a green privacy screen in your garden. It can also be used to create an impenetrable hedge which can be used as a fence. It makes a nice alternative to a wire fence in rural areas.
If you would like a qualified horticulturist to take a look at your hedging needs contact us.
For all of your garden maintenance needs or help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design. Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health as well as horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
Proper garden maintenance is critical to your property value in Melbourne the heart of the garden state. A well maintained garden will also save money in the long term and give visitors a sense of well being.
Garden maintenance can be a challenge in Melbourne with garden design styles varying from formal gardens with hedges to rustic native gardens. These factors can affect the cost of maintenance.
Combating Melbournes climate is not easy, however, knowing your hedges ideal height, correct pruning and ideal mowing frequencies you can easily stay on top of your workload. Frequent care of your hedges, palms and lawns minimizes surface area this reduces photosynthesis and slows growth rate. This creates a quicker job for the gardeners with less mess to clean up and a good reduction in cost.
Controlling water is also essential for reducing growth rates. Having a professional optimize your irrigation controller is essential for maintenance in the Melbourne. The program should be aimed at keeping plants alive and healthy but programmed to minimizes water to reduce excessive growth. Increasing watering frequency and reducing dryer periods allows you to greatly wind down irrigation times. We find this not only reduces growth rates but also creates healthier more resilient plants and turf. Calibrating a water sensor to shut down the irrigation through periods of rain is also critical for reducing water and slowing growth rates.
Please if you have any further questions on how getting a maintenance professional can help you with your garden, please fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page of give me a call 0424350910. I Have listed below some of my company’s maintenance services have a read to see how we might be able to help you.
Our team of professional Melbourne landscape designers, qualified tradesmen, trained staff and skilled contractors, have extensive experience in all aspects of garden construction and landscaping. Red’s Landscaping and Civil will ensure that the construction of your project is both cost effective and time efficient, while guaranteeing the best quality outcome. Modern horticulture is not just about flowerbeds and borders. Our experience and training in horticulture, and our landscape design expertise, will bring your Melbourne Landscaping vision to life.
Lawn renovation is best done in early Autumn in Melbourne gardens. Take the time to assess your lawn and plan for some renovation and repair work. Start by walking over your lawn and checking for any bald patches, or high spots or dips.
Lawn Irrigation Systems
Turn on your irrigation system and check if all parts of the lawn are getting adequate water. If you cannot push the tines of a fork into the bald patches, then the soil might be compressed or the irrigation is not reaching that spot. Also check for weeds and other pests and diseases whilst you are there.
What is the best treatment for grass?
Step 1 – Lawn Weed removal
The first step in a successful lawn renovation is to remove the weeds. If the weather is sunny, you could use a selective spray, but do not be afraid of digging the weeds out by hand.
Lawn care Melbourne. Broadleaf weeds can be removed by hand or with a selective spray.
Step 2 – Aeration of the Lawn
To make this job easier, give the grass a really good soaking or do it just after a good rain. Using a granulated or spray on soil wetter will help too. The slugs of soil should come up the aerator tines and drop out onto your lawn.
Mechanical Lawn Aerator for large or commercial lawns. Aeration is an essential part of lawn repair.
If you have a smaller area of lawn, then Bunnings have a hand held aerator that is reasonably priced. You can get a cyclone aerator at around $55 – $60. This is money well spent.
The holes made by the aerator, will allow oxygen, water and nutrients to quickly get to the roots. This is especially important if you have some high traffic areas that may have had some compression and wear.
Lawn topsoil profile shows the effectiveness of aeration in getting oxygen and nutrients to the lawn roots.
Step 3 – Over sow grass seeds.
If you have hybrid roll out grass then you will not find grass seeds of the exact same type of grass. Your local plant nursery will be able to suggest something that looks similar. Sowing Lawn seeds in early Autumn, means that the new lawn grasses have all winter and spring to get established before the next hot summer.
Oversow the lawn with new lawn-seed. Ensure seeds go into the aeration holes.
Step 4 – Top dress the lawn.
Top dress with either a high quality sandy loam with a little organic matter, or a course sand. The course sand works well in high traffic areas, but a topsoil high in organic matter is better at holding moisture. For real problem areas, try top dressing with a cheap fine textured potting mix. When topdressing, take care to fill any low points and bring the level up evenly to any paths or edges. Protruding pavers can make a real mess of your mower blades if the lawn is lower than your pavers. Depending on the type of topsoil you have you may want to top dress with some gypsum to break up the clay. The gypsum will penetrate deep into the lawn through the aeration holes.
Topdressing with cheap potting mix
For small bald patches in your lawn, a cheap fine potting mix can be a good alternative to sandy loam. The whole nature strip below has been repaired this way, and the rapid growth in the grass is amazing. The potting mix helps to keep the grass seeds moist for germination and can give some protection from birds.
Top dressing with a cheap fine textured potting mix. This is a great solution for small problem areas or bald patches in your lawn.
Step 5 – Apply Soil Wetter and Liquid Fertiliser to your lawn.
Give your grass a liquid fertiliser like Neutrog Seamungus as well as some more soil wetter. The liquid fertiliser will encourage plant and root growth. The soil wetter is required as often the top dress soils are hydrophobic, resulting in the water just running off the soil. If you repeat this last step for 3 or 4 weeks the results will be amazing.
Hydrophobic versus hydrophilic. A surfactant will help if your lawn topsoil has become hydrophobic and is repelling water. In hydrophobic soils water will tend to run off and not find its way to the lawn roots. Aerating and some garden lime will help as well.
For hard wearing lawn the topsoil needs to be a sandy loam. This type of soil should also be used when topdressing the high traffic areas of your lawn. This will also mean that the area will require regular watering or an irrigation system to stay green as the soil moisture content will be lower in these areas. One solution to this problem is to use a product like Neutrog Seamungus after aerating to help the soil retain moisture. We have had some success using this product on some of our commercial landscaping lawns.
The ability of your soil to provide moisture will depend on the soil structure and the amount of organic matter.
When restoring commercial landscaping grassed areas many of the same principles apply as they would to a very large residential area.
The use of mechanical spreaders and mechanical aerators is required to do economical restoration to a large area. Many lawns in public spaces need to be very hard wearing, so sandy loam topsoils and irrigation systems using harvested rainwater are often used. Often there is a trade-off between green attractive grass and sustainability with areas browning off a little over summer. Couch grass will often brown in the colder months, but this is not a major concern either.
Commercial landscaping grass just starting to green up after the application of soil wetters and Neutrog Seamungus.
If you have just spent tens of thousands of dollars on your new landscape garden, then you will probably be looking at ways to protect that investment. Ongoing gardening maintenance for your new garden will help to protect and enhance your property value.
In the past it was normal to have irrigation systems with pop up sprinklers giving everything a thorough soaking. Often, we would see lots of water running down driveways and streets resulting in a huge waste of water. Water is much too precious and expensive resource to do that with these days.
Pop-up sprinklers are also very prone to damage, so a lawn mower or vehicle can easily cause a lot of expensive damage to a pop up sprinkler system. Also, the irrigation systems are designed and installed to not only save water but also bias the flow towards plants that need watering the most. As a result of this, your new landscape garden is vulnerable to drought and dry weather until the root systems can get fully established. To lessen the effects of dry weather, landscape gardeners will favour the use of higher quality top soils with a good amount of organic matter. Different top soils are used for lawns as a hard-wearing lawns needs to have a very free draining topsoil. This can have an effect on water conservation however.
To make best use of the water available, soil wetting agents and fertilizers are spread over the finished gardens and lawns. Top quality mulch with a slow breakdown is used as much as possible. Despite all of this, new landscape gardens, and in particular lawns, require extra care or gardening maintenance in the early stages of getting established.
Lawn Care maintenance for your new Melbourne lawn.
New roll out lawn has very short roots. To give the roots good contact with the topsoil, new lawns are given a light roll and top-dress when laid. As the roots as minuscule, for the first two weeks the lawn should be hand watered for at least an hour per day. Watering first thing in the morning is best, as less water is lost to evaporation from the hot sun. Evening watering is also good, but there is a slightly higher risk of fungal diseases if the lawn is damp all night. Always check if there are local watering restrictions in place.
Watering your new lawn
As the lawn root system becomes established the watering frequency can be reduced to twice per week. Check the grass joins for any signs of distress. If the grass is starting to brown around the joins and the joins are not closing up, then more watering is required. Spraying on a liquid fertiliser and plant tonic like Neutrog Seamungus Liquid can be a great help to stimulate root growth of your new lawn. If the new lawn does dry out, use a spray on soil wetter to prevent the water just running off the lawn. Depending on the weather and garden maintenance, there should be enough root growth for the irrigation system to maintain the lawn after about 9-11 weeks. These measures will also make your new lawn more drought tolerant.
Regular garden maintenance of your new roll out lawn is essential. Daily watering for the first 4 weeks and top dressing of low spots is important.
Lawn Weed Control
An essential part of gardening maintenance is lawn weed control. As part of the ongoing lawn maintenance, it is important to remove any lawn weeds before they can get established in your lawn. Some aggressive grass weeds will spread rapidly and ruin your new lawn before you know it. This is where having a maintenance gardener who is an expert in plant identification is of great benefit. Lawn weeds need to be identified and appropriately and thoroughly eliminated from the new lawn. The best protection from weeds is a healthy sward of lawn growing vigorously.
Ongoing lawn maintenance.
To keep your lawn looking great, the lawn should be aerated, and top dressed every Autumn. The organic matter in high quality top soil can settle or break down a little over the first 12 months, so the lawn should be checked over for any unevenness or sinking relative to paths and lawn edging. Early Autumn is also ideal for checking on the effectiveness of the irrigation system as dryer areas of lawn will be easier to spot.
Ongoing Gardening Maintenance Melbourne.
Maintenance for Garden Beds
As with the new lawns, it is also important that the garden beds are checked for any weeds trying to take over. Again, a qualified horticulturist who is an expert at weed identification is best placed to protect your landscape garden investment. Mulch should also be replaced as it rots down, and the condition of garden edging and irrigation systems should be checked.
In the first few weeks of planting a new garden, the garden should be watered by hand twice per week. Use of a plant tonic like Neutrog Seamungus will also help to get your plants established.
Gardening Maintenance and Hedge Trimming
A garden hedge that is not regularly trimmed will soon get out of hand. To look their best, the hedge needs to be regularly shaped. If the hedge grows too tall, it becomes difficult to maintain. Hedges that have gone out of shape often need to be cut back hard, which gives them a bare appearance.
For Gardening Services or help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design. Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
Gardening Services is one of the gardening and landscaping services provided by Red’s Landscape Gardening. We believe that excellent garden maintenance is both great for your business image and great for property values.
Our experienced and expert technical staff have knowledge not only in landscape design and construction but also in chemistry, horticulture, biology, floriculture, infrastructure, turf systems, and irrigation. All up we have over 50 years of garden maintenance behind us as well as the technical knowledge to make a garden look great. Our team of experienced landscape gardeners take a pro-active approach to gardening services. We can even suggest a few landscaping ideas during our visits.
Garden Maintenance Plan
To fit within your budget, we have come up with a four-tiered garden maintenance plan. Each of these will give you an excellent return on your investment and give your house or business instant kerb appeal.
Pressure cleaning your decks and paving will make your garden safer and more attractive. If you are looking to enhance your property for sale, this will really give your property a boost.
Garden mulch for low maintenance gardening.
To keep your garden looking healthy, and to save on water, mulch should be topped up regularly. Some species of plants can suffer from collar rot if mulch is applied to the trunk. Experienced landscape gardeners and qualified horticulturists will know this.
Hedge Trimming gardening services.
A well maintained, neatly trimmed hedge looks great on commercial, residential and body corporate sites. Our keen eye for detail will keep your hedges looking pristine and neat.
Tree planting by experienced Landscape Gardeners.
When planting trees, an experienced landscape gardener will make sure the hole is an adequate size and correct soils and fertilisers are used. As part of our Gold and Platinum packages we will prune and maintain you trees. Small trees will be replaced as part of the package, but the cost of the tree itself is not included.
Minor Fence and Gate Repairs
A fence in a state of disrepair can be both a security and a safety issue. As part of our Platinum package, we will check on the safety of your fences and carry out minor repairs.
Garden Maintenance Plans include Soil wetter granules.
Our garden maintenance plans include the use of soil wetters and the most appropriate fertilisers for your garden. This will save on watering and keep your garden looking great. An uneven lawn is difficult to mow and can become a tripping hazard. We will check your lawns and recommend an appropriate treatment.
Soil wetter and Top Dress gardening services.
Irrigation maintenance and repairs.
A well maintained irrigation system will save water and keep your plants healthy. Minor irrigation system repairs are included in our Platinum garden service package. As installers of premium irrigation systems with WIFI controllers, solenoids, manifolds and fertiliser dosing, we know what makes these systems tick. We can check liquid fertiliser levels and make sure your system is working efficiently.
For Gardening Services or help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design. Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
The well-planned installation of lighting can draw attention to your garden’s focal point. It will make your garden stand out as a place of interest throughout the evening and during the night. Even relatively inexpensive lighting systems will make your garden a magical place. If you have a small garden, then garden lighting will help to highlight your garden’s vertical space, drawing your eye away from any fences or walls or make a wall more attractive. This will give your garden a whole new dimension especially if it is designed to go with suitable plantings and hard landscaping like water features such as garden fountains.
Garden Lighting – Lighting being installed on a fountain. (Under Construction)
Why does lighting make objects appear larger?
When Galileo Galilei used his newly constructed telescope to observe the planets in the 1600s he noticed something that he could not explain. When looked at by the naked eye Venus appeared larger than Jupiter however through the telescope the situation was reversed. Much later German physician and physicist Hermann von Helmholtz described this optical illusion in his Treatise on Physiological Optics. Recently, neuroscientists discovered that dark stimuli result in a response that accurately represents their size. On the other hand light stimuli results in an exaggerated neural response that makes the stimulus appear larger than they really are. This optical illusion can be used in swimming pool landscape design and small garden design to make a pool or garden appear larger than they really are.
Garden Lighting Installation
What are the best outside lights?
As well as using up lighting, downlighting can be used to create a moonlight effect to highlight plant textures. For best effect, It is important that your garden lighting electrician works alongside your horticulturist and hard landscaper. Even though much of the system is low voltage, we recommend using a qualified electrician to ensure all of the power supply transformers and 240 volt connections are done safely. Intercoms and security cameras can be considered at the same time. With the latest LED lighting technology and the use of timer systems, modern outside lighting is not only cheap to run, it will enhance your home security. If you have one of the older garden lighting systems, it might be worthwhile having it looked at to see if some of the modern LED systems can save you money on running costs. Another advantage is that LED systems are also very low maintenance, with the light themselves lasting a very long time before replacement is required.
Lighting in Garden Design
Ideally, the lighting design should be planned at the initial concept stages of your garden design. This will allow for the necessary infrastructure to be incorporated into trenches and under pathways, alongside drainage and irrigation. Doing this way will save money and also give you a more reliable result. Swimming pool and other exterior lighting can also be incorporated into the overall result. If you have an existing garden, garden lighting can still be added using some of the new trenching techniques available. Great care needs to be taken however, not to disturb existing irrigation systems.
Garden Lighting integrated with Swimming pool landscaping design.
Garden Lighting can be integrated with your swimming pool landscape design to create some great effects. The uplighting of the trees draws your eye away from the city skyline behind. The spotlighting and swimming pool lighting make the objects appear larger than they really are.
The coastal Pandanus tree (Pandanus tectorius) is now under threat from the native leaf hopper (Jamella australiae) in South East Queensland. Although the two have co-existed for a long time, the leaf hoppers numbers are normally kept in check by its natural predator a tiny wasp known as Aphanomerus pusillus. The problem is believed to have been caused by trees being shipped south from Northern Queensland with the leaf hopper on board. Unfortunately, the tiny Aphanomerus pusillus wasp missed the trip.
Drastic action is now being undertaken on the Gold Coast with Pandanus trees being heavily pruned back or even cut down in the interests of public safety. In 2015 on Fraser Island thousands of Pandanus trees died due to the diseases spread by the leaf hopper. Just North of Noosa at the Great Sandy National Park around 20 percent of the pandanus trees have died. Another 2500 trees were showing the effects of the infestation. Joel Fostin from the University of the Sunshine Coast has been studying the problem on Frazer Island and is undertaking research on biological controls using the Aphanomerus pusillus wasp.
How to check your Pandanus
Normally even healthy Pandanus trees will have some dead leaf at the base of the leaf head. If you see a large amount of unexpected dead leaf material in the centre of the head, there is a good chance you have the infestation. Look for the black sooty mould caused by the leaf hopper’s secretions on the tree’s trunk or leaves. Also look for cast insect skin casings or insect egg cases between the leaf sheaths or on the underside of leaves.
Treating the infestation
Contact your local council if you see signs of infestation. Prune the plant back hard and seal the trimmed material in a bag. This material should be mulched or composted. When buying plants use locally grown stock from a reputable plant nursery. Inspect plants carefully for any sign of infestation before buying. Your local plant nursery should have a skilled horticulturist on hand to check the health of your plants.
About the Pandanus tectorius or screw pine.
A small tree which can reach up to 6 metres tall with leaves up to 1 metre long. Prop roots at the base of the tree help to anchor the plant in sandy soil.
There is no doubt that the Australian garden style, especially prior to the 1930s, was heavily influenced by the design of English gardens. These gardens were in turn influenced by French, Italian and Spanish gardens and ideas brought back to England from the Grand Tour. Although plant selection will be different in the sub tropical Gold Coast, there are still lessons we can learn about colour, texture and hard landscaping. For this blog we will look at the classic English garden of Sissinghurst in Kent.
The garden design style
Widely regarded as one of England’s most iconic gardens, Sissinghust garden was created in 1930 by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. As a reflecting of the two different styles of its designers, the garden combines Harold’s classical elegance with Vita’s romantic profuse plantings.
Tower views Sissinghurst classic English Garden
Views from the 16th century tower reveal the layout of the garden and show how it has been divided up and planned. Garden pathways are lined by manicured yew hedges with focal points provided at every possible vista. Parts of the garden are planted as wildflower meadows providing food and habitat for local wildlife as well as nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.
Lawns and classic English garden design.
The top lawns is neatly close cut mown with a diagonal pattern which hides the fact that the area is not rectangular. Originally the lawns at Sissinghurst were just English meadow grasses. Dwarf ryegrass was added to the sward to make it more resistant and tolerant of close mowing. A seed mix known as Olympic sports ground is used. Every Autumn the lawn is scarified and aerated and lightly resown with fescue, bent and dwarf ryegrass.
For your Melbourne lawns take a look at seeds species suitable for the hot dry climate in Melbourne. Species like Santa Ana couch will look great over summer, but will go dormant over late winter. The Sissinghurst lawns are fertilised annually in February with a slow release fertiliser followed by a later application of a seaweed based tonic much later in the year. The lawns are mown once per week at just over 20mm. To keep the diagonal pattern crisp, each stripe is always mown in the same direction. With 10 hours per week just for mowing, the gardens must have an huge maintenance budget.
Lawns and a circular Yew hedge.
Formal and Informal plantings
The National Trust aims to arrest the decline in wildflower meadows in the UK by adding informal plantings where possible. Sissinghurst is a great example of this. Wildflower meadows provide food and habitat for local wildlife as well as nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.
Wildflower meadows like these are great for attracting insects and birds to a garden.
A bee enjoys the wildflowers at Sissinghurst.
The English classic garden design often makes use of pleached tree pruning. Pleaching is a great way to create a compact hedge or screen by training trees on to a supporting framework or to each other. To achieve this the flexible young shoots are tied together to create the desired shape. This can be seen in the pictures below taken in the early spring before the spring growth.
Lime Walk and Paving with pleached pruning in early Spring.
You can create your own classic garden design by using this technique to make arches, tunnels, walks and privacy screens. The pleached hedge can also be grown in a circle or a rectangle. In the English classic garden design, ash, beech, hornbeam, wisteria or lime trees like these are often used. For your Melbourne classic garden design, also take a look at Acmena smithii Lilly Pilly.
Classic English Garden Design. Mass planting of flowers behind pleached trees.
Yew and box hedges
Planted in 1932, the Yew walk was considered a radical modernist design statement.
Yews and box hedges
A great deal of effort goes into maintaining the hedges. Annually around 1200 man hours are spent trimming the hedges at Sissinghurst. To cut the Yew Hedges so straight, poles, strings plumb bobs and trestles are used. Yews can be very difficult to prune and the hedges around the rose garden alone can take 2 weeks with two gardeners working full time.
For your Melbourne garden, take a look at the orange jessamine (murraya paniculata) also known as mock orange, chalcas, or satinwood. If you are looking for small hedge plants for your Melbourne Garden, consider using a dwarf syzygium or the Coastal or Native Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) for your hedges. Take a look at a Pittosporum like James Stirling (Pittosporum tenuifolium) or Silver sheen if you are looking for screening plants for garden privacy. Using light coloured paving or fine gravels along with fine leaf plants in your garden will help to create the illusion of extra space.
Yew Hedge focal point
Yew Hedge garden Focal Point with pleached trees in the background.
Classic English Garden Design. Hedges and a beautiful lawn.
The English Herb Garden
A traditional divided herb garden is situated in one corner of the garden. The narrow dividing garden pathways enables the herbs to harvested without being damaged by clumsy feet.
Succulents in a planter pot by a herb garden. Terracotta tiles placed edgeways.
On the red brick wall of the building and garden walls there were several different species of climbing plants growing. On of these was the Japanese Quince (chaenomeles x superba knap hill scarlet). Chaenomeles are deciduous, spiny shrubs with beautiful clustered 5-petalled flowers. They flower early in spring. The plant sets fragrant green or yellow fruit depending on the variety.
chaenomeles x superba knap hill scarlet
Japanese Quince looks great against this red brick wall.
Japanese Quince flower in early spring with the leaves just starting to emerge from the buds.
The tangled figs over the gothic arch on the garden wall make a bold statement even in winter. A tangle of climbing plants was one on the garden design styles employed by Vita.
Tangled figs over the gothic arch on the garden wall
The famous Sissinghurst Moat.
English Classic Garden Design Plants in Pots
Plants in pots are a design feature throughout the gardens. Here some basins have been reused to plant bulbs.
Classic English Garden Design. Garden Pots and climbing plants on a red brick wall. Good use of colour with the yellow and blues in the planter pots.
Palm trees form a quintessential part of the Melbourne Landscape.
Palm trees such as the Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis) were amongst the earliest landscape garden plantings in Melbourne seaside parks. These, along with other varieties are often used to create a feature or a focal point in Melbourne Gardens. The climate of the Melbourne can make many plants susceptible to fungal diseases. This is also true with Phoenix canariensis. As with most plants, pruning will help to improve the airflow around the plant and reduce the chances of a fungal disease like Fusarium oxysporum. This is the fungus which causes fusarium wilt in Phoenix canariensis.
The famous floral clock at Melbourne Botanical Gardens with sweeping lawns and Canary Island Palms (Phoenix canariensis). A great place to go for Garden Design ideas.
Tall Palm Trees in the O’Donnell Gardens St Kilda near Melbourne’s Luna Park.
Sandringham Band Rotunda behind a Canary island palm near Sandringham Lifesaving club. A hardy plant for coastal gardens. Native grasses are good plants to grow beneath these trees.
A large palm providing shade near Sandringham Lifesaving Club.
When pruning, it is also important to sterilise the pruning tools to avoid spreading diseases between plants. Many fungus spores will survive in the soil, so it is important not to use any soils which may have been contaminated. The Centennial Park in Sydney has seen the destructive impact of the Fusarium wilt on the Canary Island date palms on the Avenue of Nations. As with the Irish potato blight, having all of the plants in an area from the same genetic stock can be a problem when diseases start to spread. If planting new trees make sure you choose disease free stock from a reputable plant supplier.
Macarthur street near Gordon Reserve East Melbourne. Palm trees opposite the entrance to Parliament Station Melbourne.
Frankston Park near Port Phillip Bay. Canary Island palm. Frankston is a southern suburb of Melbourne.
Pruning Palm Trees
Palm Tree Cleaning Melbourne
When pruning these trees it is important to use sharp, sterile and well maintained tools. Heavy gloves and safety glasses need to be worn, as the palm fronds have sharp spikes which can cause a nasty wound or infection. Make sure your ladder is well secured. as even professional tree pruners find this job difficult. Wait until the frond is completely brown before trimming it.
Palm tree diseases prevented by pruning.
Some other problems to look for in your palm tree include the sugar cane weevil borer and the palm weevil borer. Do not use sugar cane mulch or bagasse near your trees as the female sugar cane weevil is attracted to it. Trees should be mulched with a top quality mulch that contains no palm or sugar cane material. The dead fronds as seen in the picture above, create a shelter for the adult beetles to hide under during daylight. For this reason, it is important to remove these fronds and dispose of them correctly.
Garden maintenance for your Melbourne Palm trees.
As with most plants, healthy growth will protect against diseases. Give your palms a good feed with a fertiliser like Neutrog Seamungus that contains nitrogen as well as trace elements like zinc. With a dripper irrigation system and some good rainfall your plants will remain healthy and disease free.
Tree pruning tools.
When tree pruning, it is important to make sure your chain saw and pruning saws are sharp and well sterilised. This will help prevent palm tree diseases moving from plant to plant. A 50/50 mixture of bleach and water or some methylated spirits will help sterilise your pruning saw.
Weevil and borer damage to trees.
Keeping the fronds neatly trimmed will remove a hiding place for pest. Insecticide and fungicide is applied at the same time to prevent disease. It looks like the help came to late to help the tree below.
Generally, many palm species create a lot of maintenance work, especially when they are planted near a pool. For this reason, we generally recommend other plants for poolside locations with better screening ability and lower maintenance. At our recent swimming pool landscape project in Ashmore we replaced many of the high maintenance palms with low maintenance screening plants.
The biggest mistake I see in garden design is people using palms to create privacy. A palm should never be used as a screening plant, the bottoms are full of dead fronds, they are messy and tacky. Hedging plants such as a Syzygium smithii ‘resilience’ or Murraya paniculata works as far better screen around pool and window areas. Hedges create less mess, are less maintenance and create a far cleaner look. A palm maintained to its true glory should be used as a feature. It should be lifted allowing light and fresh air in, it should show off its beautiful trunk and preserve only the lush green foliage at top. The same can be said of the banana like plants such as strelitzia nicolai.
Some interesting facts about Palms
Palms are members of the family Arecaceae which is also known as Palmae. Amongst the monocots, Arecaceae have one of the longest fossil records, once thought to extend more than 80 million years ago to the Late Cretaceous Period. Recent research by Dr Bill Baker of the Royal botanical Gardens Kew shows that diversification of extant lineages of palms started about 100 million years ago, during the mid-Cretaceous period. These plant were really around with the dinosaurs. As such an ancient family they give us an insight into the evolution of the rainforest. The Arecaceae are a distinctive and structurally diverse monocot groups. Palms also have collateral, rather than compound, vascular bundles in their stems and silica bodies that are borne in specialized cells (stegmata) throughout. Vessels, often with simple perforation plates, are found in roots, stems, and leaves.
(“Arecales.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010.)
Related Landscaping Information from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
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By Callum O’Brien – The Melbourne Landscaper Blog
For more information on the Canary Island Date Palm