Week 1 of the STIHL™ Spring Garden Transformation
Initial Clearing, Tree Trimming and Shaping
Gardens tend to look a little tired and dull after Winter has taken its toll, so a garden makeover is well timed as the weather starts to get warmer and we head into Springtime. Week 1 of the STIHL 6 Week Garden Transformation tackles the bigger, structural pieces in your garden – trees!
Trees add shape and height to any garden and can make a statement, as well as provide shade through the hot months and also provide the space with a sense of establishment and history. Keeping your trees healthy and in proportion is a big part of the look of your yard and an annual tidy keeps them under control and maintainable.
The first thing to do is remove any dead wood or dead branches using a pole pruner or KombiSystem with the pole pruner attachment. Keep your feet firmly on the ground and cut the dead branches back to the trunk or major limbs. Any thicker branches, or main limbs of the tree could be removed with a small chainsaw.
The main canopy of the tree should also be trimmed at this time. If you want the canopy to be contained, trim off any wayward branches and the overall look of the tree can be maintained to the size and shape you desire. Remove any branches that are growing towards power-lines, or your house, as well as keeping branches away from your neighbour’s property. The height of the tree can also be reduced using the pole pruneras this promotes healthy dense growth, as well as keeping the tree to a manageable size.
Under-pruning the tree is also an important part of tree maintenance. Under-pruning means taking off the lower branches and exposing the trunk. This has a few advantages, including removing any dangerous or eye-height branches that could strike someone in the face. Exposing the trunk also gives the tree a lovely natural form, with a clear definition between the trunk and canopy. If you are looking to plant out the garden beds underneath the tree, you need ample light and airflow. Use the loppers or a chainsaw to remove these branches and open up the garden beds below.
Once the trunk has been cleared, you may want to highlight the tree with some lighting. Spotlights shining up the trunk look fantastic as they show off the branch structure of the tree.
Deciduous trees will need a trim after the cooler months, with species like Crepe Myrtle (lagerstroemia indica) benefiting from a prune after their flowers have finished. Use the pole pruner to cut the dead flower heads off and to encourage new foliage and flower growth for the following year. If you’re lucky enough to have a banana tree in your garden, the pole pruner is also handy to remove your bananas! A big hand of bananas is heavy, so stay on the ground and chop these from there!
A pole pruner is also great for Palm trees, which should also be pruned back at this stage. If the dead palm fronds are left on the trunk, the tree tends to look messy which can impact the overall look of your garden. Palm trees produce large seed pods that need to be removed, as well as the lower dead or dying palm fronds. Chop these off as close to the trunk as possible using the pole pruner, and stand clear! Fronds and seed pods are really heavy, and can damage the plants and foliage in the garden beds below. Once they are on the ground, chop them up with a chainsaw or loppers and put them through a garden shredder. Overgrown grasses, dead shrubs, and unwanted trees should be removed at this time also, depending on the species and size you could consider using hand tools like loppers and secateurs, a hedge trimmer, chainsaw, grass trimmer, brushcutter or professional clearing saw. Cut them off at ground level, and put the waste through a garden shredder to eventually add to the compost heap.
The larger trees or branches that you have removed can be chopped into firewood size pieces and stacked to dry out ready for the fire when Winter returns.