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Friday 5 July 2019

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. I have just cut down a large tree 54"x62" in diameter that was hollow. The trunk is about 3' high, we thought maybe fill the centre with earth but what would be the best plants to grow that would in time cover down the sides of the trunk?

A.There are many ways you can plant in the hollow, filled with a good mix of compost, grit and John Innes No3. But it very much depends on whether you just want to plant and leave or treat it like a mini-border. Aubretia will tumble down and give a bright, colourful display but it only flowers for a couple of months at most. 

You can plant with annuals such as trailing or cascading begonias or tumbling petunias, nasturtiums and pansies, but annuals will die back. You can plant a succession of bulbs to flower throughout the year.  But you’re not really hiding the trunk. So we come to succulents. If you choose a type with a growing habit that will tumble over the sides that may do the job. If we were in Japan we might grow moss all over it and make it a feature.

But think about reversing the idea and plant some low growing, evergreen shrubs around it, then some climbers like an evergreen vine, Virginia creeper or climbing hydrangea to cover the trunk. You could plant a statement shrub in the hollow, or use it as above for varieties of annual plantings.

Now this might seem an odd idea  since you’ve cut down a tree, but you could put one in the hollow – something like a low growing, spreading Acer or a hardy tree fern such as Dicksonia. Just a thought.  

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