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  • Grass and weeds will compete with your newly-planted stock for moisture and nutrients, as well as making it difficult to monitor watering. If you do not control the growth of competing vegetation it will take your newly planted trees, shrubs or hedging much longer to establish, meaning that they will grow more slowly, will require regular watering for longer, and are far more likely to fail (i.e. they could die!).


  • The area immediately around newly planted stock should be kept clear from grass and weeds for at least two years, preferably more. For smaller trees and shrubs, maintain an area clear of competition with a diameter of at least one metre, whereas larger stock will need a clear zone with a radius of at least a metre or more.


  • Do not use strimmers to cut grass or weeds close to trees, shrubs or hedging; damage to bark may cause the cambium layer beneath to dry out, interrupting the flow of sap and potentially leading to the death of the plant – damage such as this would of course invalidate your guarantee.


  • A useful way of suppressing competing grass and weed growth would be to apply a mulch 8cm (3”) thick of a suitable material, such as composted bark. A mulch will also help to retain moisture and, over time, will add useful organic matter to the root zone of the establishing plant, helping to encourage healthy root development. Be aware that uncomposted mulching materials, such as chipped bark, will actually make nitrogen, a necessary nutrient, unavailable as the mulch breaks down and will make it necessary to apply additional fertiliser more frequently than would otherwise be required. Do not use woodchip, such as from ground tree stumps, as a mulch, especially if from coniferous trees or hedges.