Quality plants direct from our nursery. 

Pleached trees - growing stages with their production and buying options.

Posted on January 10, 2020 by David Fairley | 0 comments
The trees are originally grown in fields. Once a tall enough trunk is established around 180cm with a 8-10cm stem girth (circumference) and a strong canopy of stems, stems are splayed and pleached across a frame of bamboo stems. The trees are then grown on a season for the stems to fill out across the frame better. Once the is a good coverage of pleached stems then the trees are ready for lifting out of the fields. The root balls are potted into containers of quality compost. 
We then need to differentiate what we offer to buy, the difference is between the 8-10cm stem girth trees with one years growth (in the containers after their first year splayed across the frame) and the then larger 12-14cm stem girth specimen which had two years growth or more in containers across the frame.

1. The 8-10cm stem girth trees, after they have been pleached across the 150x120cm frame, are then brought on 1 Year in the Italian nursery to further establish on, across the whole frame. This option is what you have purchased.
2. The next option is then the same pleached tree grown on in Italy another year or more for the pleached stems that have already been spread to then have another year of growth. This two years of growing seasons (after the initial pleach), means the pleached stems will then fill out the frame more thickly. These are typically 12-14cm girth trees.

Considering which size/age to go for
A. Importantly the additional growing time in containers of option 2 means the trees are around double the price of the option 1. So they are a lot more expensive, if you would prefer to have option 2.
B. Also important is that if the 8-10cm pleached option have been planted well, as yours have in the Autumn, then this Spring and Summer when they grow they will thicken out and will become similar to the specimens mentioned as option 2. This saves a great deal of money, when your trees will catch up nicely in this Summer. (It is worth noting that you will help the thickening out process this Spring/Summer if you prune off stems that try to grow outside the frame’s edge, focusing the trees energy and growth within the frame.)
Proper planting
 for successful establishing and thickening of the growth in the pleached frame~
Planting of the trees, particularly with pleached trees properly is essential. Of course they are to be planted with lots of quality compost. The trees must be secured well with 2 timber stakes supporting each tree from stem to posts, with strong rubber tree ties. The frames also must be secured together to each other (ideally with large cable ties) to guarantee success of the trees. Pleached trees are very top heavy and will move around a lot in storms, being secured together means they move around 90% less. If they do move around the stems can snap, the trees also may rock their root making it difficult for the root and tree to establish. Also trees can set at an angle if not properly secured, making them not straight and unsightly if not secured with their timber posts and rubber tree ties, this is made worse if the frames are not secured together.
Aftercare is very important too. 
1. Regular watering is important to keep the root ball and the local ground around moist at all time for your new plants. If not new root trying to establish can simply dry up. 
2. Feeding Is very important too. If you have planted your trees with quality compost that is great. But the trees will use up the nutrients within 3 months. So to quickly establish new plants, including trees, you need to feed the root ball and local area around the root ball three times in the year. This can be done in April, then July and finally October, we advise a multi purpose liquid fertiliser made up in watering cans, and apply this feed to the root ball and surrounding area with two watering cans per new tree.

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Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin' Gardeners' insight

Posted on July 24, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ has to be a personal favourite of mine for a hedge. Whether used as a dramatic feature as topiary or to make a great hedge, this evergreen shrub  creates a visual feast all year round, and can screen the unpleasant features in the garden very well.


2 litre pot - the plant is about 50 cm tall.

The most obvious thing you would associate with Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, is the amazing scarlet foliage. This vivid red is only on the new shoots of the Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ and provides a burst of colour when the growing season begins. Eventually after the foliage has matured,  if the Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ hasn’t been cut back the new shoots will eventually change to a dark green colour. Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ also produces handsome white flowers in the spring which also add contrast to the differing colours of the foliage.


10 litre pot - the plant is about 70cm tall, but it is much fuller and is well established compared to the 2 litre potted plant.

Another major positive about having Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ as a hedge is how easily it can be managed. There are various different ways you can control the growth regarding your specific plant. For instance if you are using Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ as a hedging plant, you can cut the tips of the young shoots to encourage even more scarlet red shoots to form. On top of this you can also trim your Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ up to three times in a year, in order to keep its shape uniform. It is vital if you want to maintain the shape of you Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ that you prune it as it can grow up to as much as a meter each year.

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Mature Hedge Plants, the best value are Root Ball plants.

Posted on February 28, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

By far the best value plants for your new hedge to purchase are what are known as Root Ball plants. This is compared to potted plants and also bare root plants. There is a large difference in the product and price of also. Simply potted plants are more expensive as they are grown in a pot in nurseries and because of the pot itself have restricted growth. Root Ball or Bare Root plants are grown in fields so grow more quickly and larger than the same age plants grown in pots. Put in another way, a two meter tall laurel grown in a pot will be not nearly as large and thick growth compared to a Bare and Root Ball laurel. Large potted plants also can have a badly congested root system hat can struggle to grow outwards to establish a sturdy mature plant.

Our advice towards mature Bare Root plants is that there is risk in the new plants taking or establishing quickly. For small specimens below one meter tall but they are perfect and brilliant value. They can be purchased all year around.

The draw back to Root Ball plants is that they have to be lifted out of the fields between October and March. This is the dormant season and safe to transplant mature plants. Once they are dug out of the field, some root is lost and the main root system is put in degradable bag with the soil still around the root system of the plant in a ball shape, this the Root Ball name.

Once the plants have been delivered to you they will need be planted very firmly back in the ground so they stay stable. If they are above two meters tall we recommend that they are secured to wooden steaks, to avoid root rock. In the process the root loss when cutting the plant out of the field means it is essential that you feed them with a lot of fertiliser. We suggest dried chicken manure, which is very nutritious for plants, easy to just apply to the surface and very cheap too! The ground must be watered shortly after planting and kept moist all through the Spring and Summer. An irrigation system using Soaker Hose is cheap to install and very efficient to keep your mature plants watered. Root Ball plants are more susceptible to drying out than potted plants.

We hope this has been useful, we have planted a great amount of bare Root plants over the years. Happy to supply them to you and consult on good planting practices, or will quote to plant your hedge if required.

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DFG Top ten evergreen hedge plants

Posted on February 28, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

Here is a list of our top ten hedging plants at DFG. The list in no particular order is as follows:


1. Buxus sempervirens (Common Box)

2. Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin'

3. Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia' (English Cherry Laurel)

4. Thuja 'Green Giant' (Western Red Cedar)

5. Prunus lusitanica (Portugese laurel)

6. Ligustrum ovifolium (Privet)

7. Griselinia littoralis

8. Taxus baccata (Yew)

9. Aucuba japonica (Spotted Laurel)

10. Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'

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Mulching with manure

Posted on February 18, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

In some of the gardens we maintain that have very clay based top soil we struggle to keep the garden imaculate. We know this and don't like it and takes away the lovely joy and satisfaction you shoud get looking after flower beds. Also a customer can be disapointmented, so a differnet direction is needed, the problem is the top soil in the flower beds. We need to make managing the flower beds more efficent, speeding up the the time it takes to weed them, to create the additional time that we normally have at our other large gardens we maintain. With the result of keeping the essential maintenance imaculate and then gives us the time for some extra planting, mowing, stimming, and keeping the gravel drive neat too.


The is a good reason at our other contracts the soil is good, and easy to work. When soil is very 'clay based', so it becomes hard and dry like rock, and ehen it is wet it is so heavy to work. This means that we have to dig the weeds out of the  flower beds with forks or spades every time a weed needs to be extracted, and this takes a lot of time, also it is not enjoyable for us. When you have a lot of flower bedsto manage, a situation of every time we have weeded every flower bed, the bed we began three weeks ago then needs doing again, a never ending process. This then leaves very little time for the pruning, hedges and spraying, and no chance to improve the gardens. In most of our gardens the soil is loam based, this just means over time the clay is worked down into a lighter top soil that is easy to dig even when compacted, we then only dig it over properly once a year in Winter to de-compact the soil. The key bit here is we then use hoes to weed the flower beds, this is a very efficent and quick process to keep the flower bed clear of weeds.It may take 5 times longer to dig weeds out than using a hoe, and in your garden you can not use a hoe at all.


All is not lost! The only way to improve your soil is work lots of your own compost and farm manure into the clay soil, this makes the soil gradually softer, lighter, into loamy soil. This however takes years of doing it to have a significant effect, and you may need a quicker solution. This is still farm manure, but not compost as it is too light. This is to stop the digging which takes up so much time from April to December, this will free significant time away from the flower beds. To do this we need to mulch thickly the flower beds with 'well rotted' manure, similar to mulching with wood chip, which you often see in new housing estates / supermarkets (we can use wood chip but this is expensive compared to manure, and still needs regular topping up, like with the manure). Wood chip normally is not very pretty as it ages. The manure also feeds the plants! This manure will then get dug into the soil in the Winter time. Then we need to re-mulch the flower beds once a year in Winter.


The manure needs to be well rotted, with any straw well rotted into the dung. This means it is pleasent to look at when it is just sitting on top of the beds, important as it will be next to your lawns/patios. All mulches do not stop the weeds, but make it more difficult for the weed to germinate, so less weeds. The weeds that do germinate in the mulch, are then much easier to get out than the comparison of digging a weed out of the rock hard clay. Once the mulch is down we will still have to do weeding, but using much less time than we have been on weeding in the growing season.


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