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I have two questions to ask please:

1. My cherry tree has sprouted but has failed to grow any leaves. I have always had a problem with caterpillars but the tree has always produced cherrys and appeared healthy. On closer inspection the areas which have sprouted appear dead but some of the thicker branches are still alive. I cannot see any obvious signs of decease and wondered if there was hope of saving the tree by cutting away all the dead parts.

2. Could you please advise on what I can do to improve the clay- like soil within the raised borders in my garden



I'm afraid i'm no expert on Prunus trees but someone else will no doubt have an opinion.

The soil in those beds though will require a fair amount of work to make them how you want them to be.
You could either remove all the soil, dispose of it, and replace it with a decent soil .....
Or, spend a period of time adding grit and manure to the areas to break the clay down - this won't be the quick option and it'll take months to get it workable.

If you're going to plant hardy shrubs in there though you could get away with just replacing a bit of the old soil and adding your grit and manure and then over the months adding more of the grit mix.

17 Apr, 2011


Unless you are in a big hurry to improve the soil you can achieve a lot by simply adding garden compost when you have it, and emptying your used compost from pots onto the borders. Keep your lawn mowings in a heap and allow them to rot for at least a year - useable when they look like compost rather than a slithery mess! They will add humus. They are also acidic, about pH 5, so would be helpful around rhododendrons, heathers, pieris etc. If you have trees spread the autumn leaves on the lawn and mow them to break them up and spread them in a thick winter mulch that you can fork in in the spring - blackbirds love poking around in this! (If the trees are ash or sycamore you will have some weeding to do in the spring!) Any well rotted farmyard manure will also be a big help. A bag of grit or very coarse sand will help to break up the clay lumps too.

Sorry I can't help with the cherry.

17 Apr, 2011



Many thanks for all your advice in relation to the clay-like soil in my raised borders. I think I've some hard work ahead of me to improve the quality of the soil, and have already dug the lawn on three occasions since both were completed for me in April 2010?

Thanks again

19 Apr, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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