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By Johnlyn

United Kingdom Gb

My house has a front and back garden and the land slopes from the back to the front. It is built on an old Mill site and the ground at the bottom of the front garden is quite wet and there is little if any drainage. There is evidence of heavy clay in this area. The bad weather during December and January did not help this situation and we found ourselves in upto 6/8 inches of snow.I planted 4 Irish Yew trees in my front garden about a year ago, one in each corner. The two at the top end of the front garden are growing well. The two at the bottom of the front garden have turned brown and on one of them there is no obvious new growth. At the same time I also planted 3 holly trees, 2 at each side and one at the bottom of the garden. This one has not developed as well as the others and its leaves are now turning yellow.
I have taken out the 2 Irish Yews and 1 holly and retuned them to pots.

I do have a number of questions and would be grateful for your advice:

Have these three trees been affected by the wet conditions at the bottom of the front garden
Can I do anything whilst they are in pots that will revive them - if there is I intend to plant them at the top end of the back garden at some time in the future - is this a reasonable option.
I would like to replace these trees in the front garden with something evergreen whose growth can be controlled and that would cope with the wet conditions. Your suggestions would be very welcome.



Taxus do not like waterlogged soil - holly should tolerate it, but it may be that the ground froze for too long in the wet area, and that's why the holly has suffered. All you can do with them is to keep them fed and watered in their pots until they recover.
You don't say how far away the wet part of your garden is from the house - if its more than 45 feet, then Willows might be the answer - they do though have a very wide root spread, which is why they shouldn't be any closer than that to a house or structure. Salix alba 'vitilina' and 'Britzensis' have yellow and red stems respectively, need stooling to the ground every other year in spring to produce new, brightly coloured stems, and are striking in winter. Salix tortuousa (twisted Willow) is worth a look too, and if you want something smaller, there's always the Kilmarnock willow, which can be planted much closer to a house than the coloured stem kinds. All these should tolerate wet soil fairly well. I wouldn't, though, recommend the Weeping Willow.

24 May, 2010


Many thanks for your most informative response

Kind regards

25 May, 2010

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