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About PeterGG

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    Junior Member

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  • Location:
  • Interests
    Tree surgery, tree felling, tree pruning, stump removal, tree planting, emergency tree work
  • Occupation
    Professional arborist & tree surgeon.
  • Post code
    SW15 4ES
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  1. The Hornbeam Tree (Carpinus betulus), is a tough a tree as any. It is both beautiful and useful with leaf cover all year round, making it a haven for a lot of wildlife through the winter months. The Hornbeam is also known as the common hornbeam or European hornbeam and it is a native species from the Betulaceae family. When hornbeam trees reach maturity, they can be as high as 30 metres. They can also live for over 300 years. What do Hornbeam Trees Look Like? The Hornbeam is a broadleaf, deciduous tree with light grey bark. The bark has vertical marking and the trunk is often twisted with ridges as it ages. The hornbeam's twigs are a grey-brown colour and appear slightly hairy. In terms of its leaf buds, these look similar to those of the beech tree but they curve slightly at their tips and are shorter. They have an oval shape and pointed tip. To distinguish between the hornbeam and the beech, you will notice that the beech has wavy edges while the hornbeams are more like fine-toothed edges. The leaves look pleated and the seeds are between 3 and 6 mm long. They’re held in place by a three0lobed leafy bract. During the cooler months, the hornbeam is recognisable by its distinctive paper-like seeds that hand in clusters during autumn. Leaf buds present themselves pressed against the twigs. In autumn, the leaves turn from green to golden yellow and then orange and most of them stay on the tree through the winter. Hornbeam Tree Flowers and Fruits The hornbeam tree is monoecious. This means that it grows both female and male catkins on the same tree. When the tree is pollinated by the wind, the female catkins become papery, green-winged fruits that are called samaras. Where Can You Find Hornbeams? The hornbeam is native to the south of the UK. These trees are found naturally in oak woodlands and will often be pollarded or coppiced. In Europe, there are only two species of hornbeam but in East Asia, there are between 30 and 40 different species. How Valuable Are Hornbeams to Wildlife and Ecology? Just like the similar-looking beech tree, a hedge made from hornbeam trees will not lose its leaves through the winter. This means it provides shelter for wildlife and many small mammals and birds will use the hornbeam hedge for nesting, roosting and foraging. This tree species is also a food for many species of moth caterpillars, this includes nut tree tussocks. Small mammals, tits and finches eat the hornbeam’s seeds during the autumn months. Symbolism and Mythology Associated with The Hornbeam Tree Due to the hornbeam’s strength, the Ancient Romans would make chariots out of the wood. In an area of Northern France called Valenciennes, there is a tradition to put a branch of a hornbeam tree in front of the door belonging to your sweetheart. Hornbeam Uses The timber of the hornbeam tree is a pale cream colour and has a grain that is flecked. The wood is extremely hard and is the hardest timber available in Europe. These days, hornbeam wood is used for flooring, wood-turning and furniture. In the past, however, the wood would be used for ox yokes. These devices joined oxen together as they ploughed the land. The beam of wood would have been attached to the horns of the oxen and this might be where the tree got its name ‘hornbeam’. There is another theory too, however. In old English, ‘horn’ meant ‘hard’ and the word ‘beam’ meant ‘tree’ so the hornbeam means ‘hard tree’. Hornbeam wood has also been used in making coach wheels, windmill and watermill cogs, wood screws, piano hammers and butchers’ blocks. As well as this, the wood was also pollarded and coppiced to make poles. Finally, the wood is good for burning and makes great charcoal. Also, previous uses involve a tonic being made from the hornbeam that apparently, relieved exhaustion and tiredness. The leaves used to be used to heal wounds and stop bleeding too. Hornbeam Conservation and Threats In terms of disease, the hornbeam is susceptible to Phytophthora and other fungal diseases. It also suffers from grey squirrel damage as they can strip the bark. Taking Care of Your Hornbeam Trees Generally speaking, hornbeams are low maintenance trees and they don’t need much more than a bit of light pruning. As long as diseased or dead branches are removed regularly and there is adequate airflow, the hornbeam will look after itself. Airflow can be maximised by removing congested shoots. What’s more, pollarding or coppicing hornbeams will help to increase their lifespan and will help the hornbeam to grow taller. All pruning that isn’t an emergency should be carried out at the end of summer or the beginning of autumn. This is to avoid sap from bleeding out as this can make the tree susceptible to diseases. Hornbeam hedges should be pruned to help maintain the hedge’s shape so that it appears tidy and neat. During an average year, hornbeams will have two main periods of growth with one growth spurt occurring in the spring and the second occurring in summer. The hornbeam should be trimmed after each growth period so that it stays tidy. The summer cut should occur in September ensuring that the leaves haven’t yet changed colour or dropped. You need to take care when pruning hedges that are deciduous because the leaves can turn brown easily if you are too rough with your trimming. If you are careful, your hedge will stay dense and attractive throughout the winter months. Caring for a hornbeam tree is pretty simple but look out for coral spot and powdery mildews. Mildew shows as a dusty coating that appears on the stems, leaves and flowers and it is white. Coral spot causes branches to die back and you will see small fungal pustules that are a coral-pink colour. If you do encounter problems, it is best to contact a qualified tree surgeon as they will know how to treat these diseases for the best possible outcome of your tree. ---------------------------------------- Thanks for reading our article. If you would like to read more articles like this they can be found on our blog. www.graftingardeners.co.uk
  2. The optimal pruning times for fruit trees can vary from species to species but like most fruit trees it is best to prune them in early spring before the bud’s break and trees are still dormant. Initial pruning is important as it helps young trees to produce thick stems and open canopies. This allows more light and air to enter, which promotes flowering and also reduces fungal and bacterial diseases. There are a few systems for training young trees, a few that come to mind are the central leader and open centre. Both of these systems have their advantages and disadvantages and different species will produce more fruit with one of the other methods. In most cases, it can be good to start with the central leader system as you can always change it to open centre if needed. The first couple of years of pruning are important and will help to increase strength, promote branches and rubbing and crossing. You should always use a pair of secateurs and a silky saw and avoid using a tree surgeons chainsaw when pruning for fruit trees. Additionally, you might consider cleaning any blades used with alcohol to minimise contamination especially if you have more than one tree to prune. Like agg221 mentioned, you'll also want to avoid pruning in harsh conditions such as frost and snow, and only prune in dry mild conditions to prevent the spreading of waterborne diseases or damage from cold temperatures.
  3. PeterGG


    GraftinGardeners is a tree surgery company with a large yard based in leatherhead. We accept accepts all kinds of green waste including: Logs Wood Chip Garden Waste (Ivy, Hedge Trimmings) Wood (fence panels, ect) Things we do not accept: Bricks Concrete Gas Bottles Hazardous Materials (Asbestos) The cost to tip is £25 per load and payment is to be made by cash prior to tipping.
  4. Great information Burrell. I gave a similar explanation to a customer the other day.
  5. Here is an article about tree conservation areas and tree preservation orders
  6. PeterGG

    Oak Reduction

    Really good job, looks wicked, how long did you spend on it?
  7. You could try to use the visual scenery around you to assist your view, try to measure the distance with only the eye, this way you will get much better at judging distances in your own way with out the need of string on hand distances. There are lots of apps on phones now, for apple, android and other devices. might be a good idea to purchase one of the better paid apps though, because they tend to come with more features and are not limited like some free versions. 'Distance Estimator' for android is good and its free.
  8. You need to go and seek professional advice from a solicitor, they may wish to take you to court and claim some money off you by not going through proper procedure. One of my family friends got in trouble for this and they had to pay a hefty sum.
  9. Our team uses stihl everything. Its a really reliable make. The husky's have more power but there life span is not as long. Bring back the MS-200. The MS-201 is pony.
  10. If they are mature trees and there is major dieback then they could be in decline. Severe damage to the heartwood are good grounds for felling. Is there an option to replant? If so this could sway felling permission in your favour and its always nice to replant.


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