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Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

Recycling Old Trees and Bushes.



When bushes and trees are given a trim, whether it is an annual light pruning, or something more drastic such as reducing the bulk of long neglected fruit trees to produce healthy new fruiting branches, there are many ways of recycling the waste, some of which are more obvious than others. Garden shredders are the first choice for many people and can do a wonderful job on most lighter plant material. The resulting pulp can either be composted, or even used directly in some instances as a rough mulch to help suppress weeds and maintain moisture. However, most people are not aware that rotting wood/bark chippings can rob the soil of Nitrogen, so care should be used in their application. Between bushes and trees coarse chippings are ideal and perfectly natural, but finer material is better mixed in the compost heap with other waste that will help to balance out the minerals.

One way to deal with a lot of fallen leaves, or leaves removed from prunings, is to spread them over the lawn and run the lawn mower over them. This will not only pick them up and shred them at the same time, but will also help speed up the composting process which is best done by putting them in a large plastic bag on their own. They can be mixed in with normal compost material although they will take a little longer than other material to compost properly .

Large “Twiggy” branches can be used in the vegetable garden directly as pea and bean supports as well providing support in the flower garden for many herbaceous plants. Indeed any stout branches that are straight and long enough, after all the side shoots have been removed, might even be used as tree stakes or posts in a variety of ways. Traditionally, of course, much fencing was and still is done round the countryside with roughly cut posts and thickish, split poles, instead of nicely, squared and planed timber.

Small branches and logs can be disposed of in the garden and any garden will benefit from having one or two log piles in it that can be left to decay naturally. They are best placed around the garden out of sight under bushes where they will attract many types of wildlife from, small things like beetles and woodlice, up to the likes of hedgehogs who will shelter under them for the winter.

It used to be that firewood was not thought to be a very “green” way of providing heating, but these days it is considered to be a renewable fuel and as such is perfectly acceptable. Freshly cut branches need to be logged and stored for a few months to dry out before they will burn well and even then some types of wood do not make really good fuels. Some like the common tree named appropriately “The Ash Tree” actually produce a lot of ash that can choke a fire while others filled with sticky sap like some of the pines will spit like fury.

If you don’t have any use for firewood yourself one rather bizarre way of disposing of bags of cut timber is to simply leave it outside your gate with a sign on “Saying FREE firewood.” These days, you can be sure that within a few hours, someone who thinks they can make use of them will have taken the bags of “firewood,” away!

Another more interesting way of recycling thickish branches from an old tree, is to make “Log Rolls” out of them for edging lawns, borders and paths. Straight branches about the thickness of a wrist, or arm can be sawn up into 8 or 9 inch lengths and then split lengthways. After wiring them together, in a length with heavy-duty wire and fencing staples the “Log Rolls” provide a heavy-duty alternative to the plastic lawn edging that is sold everywhere. Log Rolls are expensive to buy ready made, even prohibitively so for many people, but would cost next to nothing to make with waste logs. Of course it would take many hours to put together several "Log Rolls" at home without suitable machinery, but what a useful job and what a way to recycle an old tree!



Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.


Books By
Alan J Hartley