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feeding new hedge

How can one fertilize a hedge (Portuguese laurel) planted in April of this year; given that the area surrounding the plants is covered with a weed-restricting membrane topped with bark mulch? sylvester, , Posted: 26/08/2017

Feed in March with some tree and shrub fertiliser. It will dissolve and wash down to the roots, or use a liquid feed such as Miracle Gro.


Hydrangea falling over

I have a 4 year old hydrangea which has blossomed each year pink so this year I wanted to change it to blue which successfully worked after adding colourant. what I did notice however was these beautiful blooms have fallen over onto the ground and doesn't look so good. Is there something I can do to prevent for next year. They seem top heavy but I have seen large bushes dotted around the country that don't seem to have this problem. evelyn1979, fermoy , Co Cork Posted: 10/08/2017

Hydrangea has a tendency to flop over with soft growth due to rich feeding, or very fertile soil. Also, established plants tend to be stiffer.


Foliage on tall bay hedge

The bay hedge is 4.5 - 5m tall, multi-stemmed and well established. However the foliage has become very sparce and thin and it is losing its 'screening' ability. What feeds, mulch etc can I give it to encourage it to develop more foliage and to become denser? The hedge is about 15-18 years in situ. It is exposed somewhat to the East wind when it comes, but sheltered mostly by high ground from the prevailing wind. On very stormy days, the top half of the hedge takes the brunt of the wind. There is the usual yellowing and shedding of leaves, but it is very slow at 'filling out' and developing new growth. 270220171, Bray, Co Wicklow Posted: 27/02/2017

Bay and other trees tend to lose their lower growth as they mature, and adverse conditions can increase this.

Try to have no competition for one metre on either side of the hedge.

Apply tree and shrub fertiliser in March and July for 3 years.

Mulch with organic material, 5cm every year for 3 years, then every 2 years. 


spent potato compost

Is it okay to feed my alder trees, fruit trees and shrubs with last year's potato compost. I don't need it for this year's veg beds but I don't want to throw it away. derickc, , Co Monaghan Posted: 22/02/2017

There is no problem at all, except that you might find a few small volunteer potatoes coming up, but these are easily pulled out. Spent compost will act as a mulch aroung young trees and shrubs.


Alkaline loving Rhododendron

We bought a rhododendron specifically produced for alkaline soil a year ago and fed it with the recommended feed but it hasn't grown at all, although the buds are there. All the leaves have gone black at the edges and we're at our wit's end as to what to do next. Quite an expensive mistake maybe?? Arwen, Rathdowney, Co Laois Posted: 31/08/2016

It is probably just adapting to new surroundings and may have needed a heavy watering from time to time, until it has rooted out into the surrounding soil, when it will show new growth, next May.

No feeding is needed except a mulch of ortted leaves each year or two years.




Any idea why my April/May blooming magnolia has gone into full bloom in August. mollser, Leixlip, Co Kildare Posted: 24/08/2016

It is not all that unusual, and is due to exceptionally good growing weather this summer.


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