Why size matters…when picking the right trees

Those trees in Westminister Abbey.

WATCHING the royal wedding as a gardener, I thought the use of large trees in Westminster Abbey was fascinating.
I am sure this is a first but not sure of the reason behind the inclusion of the trees, which I understand was the bride’s idea.
But I looked at the symbolism as the emerging new leaves in the British spring as a sign of life starting afresh being synonymous with the start of married life for the royal couple.
Here the autumn leaves are still providing a wonderful palette of colour and I just had to include this picture of a Pistacia chinense or Chinese Pistachio growing in a Campbell garden. Do take particular note of its size.
As we go into winter, a wide variety of trees become available as “bare-rooted” or “open ground”. Before buying any tree decide if you really have room in your garden. There is a wealth of information from your local garden centre or the internet.
The ultimate size can vary according to soil conditions and climate. For example, the Chinese Pistachio can, according to some sources, grow to 8m tall with a 6m spread. This one is considerably larger, being at least 10m tall with a similar spread.


The Pistachia tree in its autumn glory.

Especially in new suburban gardens, I see the ubiquitous Manchurian pear trees (12-15m tall with a 7-10m spread) planted literally one metre from the back fence or in front gardens several planted 1-2m apart!
Often builders/developers are not familiar with trees, or any plants for that matter, and decide to do the landscaping themselves by popping down to the local garden centre and buying a selection of trees and shrubs, then plant them out irrespective of their size; include some artificial grass and the property is advertised as “fully landscaped”!
The only folk who will benefit are the arborists in a few years, having to remove over-sized trees, often with no access to backyards. One advantage in new suburbs is that there are no overhead powerlines to worry about.
Please, spec builders, developers or home owners, check if there is space for the tree to grow. Equally important, do not plant over underground services, gas, sewer pipes, phone lines etc. In reality, with many blocks of only 500-600sqm with a “McMansion” on top, there is simply no room for trees of any description.


The ultimate raised vegie bed for bad backs.

FIGURES from seed companies continue to indicate the rise of vegetable seeds over flower seeds as more people are growing their own vegetables; this coupled with the desire to grow them organically.
By growing your own, you have complete control on what pesticides and fertilisers are used. Once again, with limited space in gardens, raised metal garden beds are the answer. They are rot proof, possums and other pests find it hard to clamber up the sides, excellent for those with bad backs etc. Check out the range of sizes with 20 colours to chose from to match your home at Enviro-Friendly Products, 65-67 Colbee Court Phillip.


THE season’s last Actew Free Garden Workshop will be held this Saturday at Rosary Primary School, Watson at 9am. There will be a barbecue breakfast from 8am. Everything from installing drip irrigation (have you noticed how dry it is getting?) to dealing with clay soils, drought-tolerant plant lists, fertilising and more. These are conducted by irrigation expert Austin Goodfellow and yours truly. Bookings are essential during business hours on 6248 3131.

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