It’s a good time to plant trees

FLOWERING TREES: Lots to choose from.

AT last a sunny day after two weeks of generally drizzly weather with an occasional heavy down pour, and more sun is promised for the next 10 days, so it is now a good time to think about planting flowering trees.

There are numerous to choose from and they can be used as specimen trees for their flowers, shade, architectural shapes and varying heights. They can also be planted as integral parts of boundary hedges to frame the best views beyond the garden and hide the worst.

The benefits are as follows:

1. The wide variety of seasonal flowerings possible from early spring to late autumn.

2. Most flowering trees are deciduous and therefore provide summer shade and allow the winter sun to shine through the skeleton of branches during the winter.

3. Well planted in enriched soil they can grow relatively fast.

4. Once established most are fairly frost and drought resistant.

5. The wide range of leaf, flower, fruit and bark colours and textures with which to brighten up the garden and add interest.

However there can be a few problems as well:

1. Flowering seasons are often short.

2. Fallen leaves, dead flowers, fruit and broken twigs need to be swept up especially after strong winds and storms.

3. Some may seem small when taken home from the garden centre.

But they can become too large for their situation unless trimmed every couple of years.

4. Vigorous roots can undermine the founda-tions of the house, outbuildings, paths and boundary walls.

5. Heavy heads can snap from thin young trunks unless the trees are well staked for some years after planting.

In general the soil needs are the same as for smaller perennial plants and shrubs. Namely reasonably fertile, rich in humus, water retaining and free draining. It is of benefit to work in a little TerraCottem moisture retaining gel into the bottom of planting holes to help roots grow continuously in the first few years.

Popular trees include the following:

Early flowering

Almonds, Acasias, Cersis the Judas trees that flower for Easter, Poinsettias, Laburnum and Tamarix.

Summer flowering

Albizias,  Bauhinas – the orchid trees, Caesalpinias, Chorisias, Jacarandas, Justicias, Lagerstroemias, Melia Azedarachs, Parkinsonias, and Robinias.

Autumn flowering

Arbutus, Bauhinas, Hibiscus Matabilis and Justicias.

Fruiting trees with wonderful blossom displays can also be regarded as early flowering trees. Especially impressive are peaches, apricots and pears. The taller growing varieties of the bottle brush shrubs can also be trained into three of four metre trees.

More information about flowering trees and many other groups of plants likely to be of interest in your garden will be found in Part Four of ‘Your Garden in Spain’.

Descriptions, flower photographs and Botanical, English and Spanish names are given.

© Dick Handscombe
www.gardenspain.com
February 2015.

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