Quick & Easy Guide to Protecting Your Young Small Trees from Wind & Bad Weather

Strong winds and heavy weather will be hitting the UK over the autumn, winter and some of the spring; it is important that you protect your garden fully. In this post we will focus on small or young trees as they are one of the most vulnerable items when it comes to bad weather. Snow, rain and especially wind can cause permanent damage.

Here are a few ways to prepare for the months ahead –

  • You may have seen young trees being held up by stakes and perhaps metal poles. We believe the best way to implement this is to put a stake in the ground, preferably around the height of the tree itself, about 25cm away from the trunk. Use either loops of plastic, cable ties or rope to connect the two (see diagram below). Please allow for reasonable movement as the tree will swing naturally in the wind and the loops stop it from swinging too much. Pad the loops for protection.
  • Creating a loop of windbreak netting all around will diminish the amount of breeze. Use poles/stakes to create a circle and attach the netting as shown below. A heavy duty net is recommended (diagram below).
  • If there is going to be an especially cold snap then it is ideal to use garden fleece as a cover. The fleece will create a warmer climate and help to prevent against freezing or heavy rain damage.
  • These methods can also be used with plants and perhaps garden structures. Gardening is a grind and it is a shame when weather completely destroys your hard work.

Small tree windbreak

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Windbreak: Creating Home-made Wind Protection.

Windbreak; Home-made

Windbreak constructedPeople purchase windbreaks for reasons such as protecting plants, patios and social areas, use at the beach and to create a better habitat for animals and pets. Pre-built ones can be expensive, flawed, cumbersome and poorly constructed. A great way to make sure you have the protection you want is to create it yourself. Windbreaks are easy to fashion from just a few simple things. I hope to help you with building one and give some advice on materials.

Shade netting rollIn regards to the right materials I recommend the use of windbreak netting and wooden poles. You can, of course, use metal poles and sheeting created from things such as PVC or polyethylene. The problem I have with solid plastic based sheets is that with strong gusts it can get damaged easily and blow over. The mesh in windbreak netting allows a small amount of air to pass through, leaving it a lot sturdier, longer lasting and not so battered in heavy weather.

Building your windbreaker

  • Windbreak netting comes in many widths and sizes, so depending on the area you need to protect you can select the correct size. The same goes with the poles; pick the height of the poles depending on the height of the net. I recommend a diameter of around 10cm if you wish the construction to be static and smaller poles of you want it to be portable and moveable.
  • The mesh will have eyelets either side, running down the length. Use those eyelets to create a preliminary mock-up  by tying the netting to the poles; 1m apart is a good distance but depending on the weather it is going to face you may want to move them closer. Please see diagram below.
  • Once you have everything in the correct position you can either staple the net or cable tie it to the poles to increase security.
  • You can use pegs and guy ropes to help secure your structure in a static position (in the same manner as a tent).
  • Windbreak netting also doubles up as shade protection as well, so you will be able to use it for that purpose also.

 

Windbreak; Home-madeProducts available from http://www.qvsshop.co.uk

 

 

Battling The Elements; Creating Areas To Enjoy Your Garden In All Sorts Of Weather.

Creating an area for outside eating and entertainment is a wonderful idea! Decked, paved and gravel areas are great for outside eating, parties, entertainment and for relaxation. As with the English weather as it is, it is tough to rely on when planning an outside gathering.  More and more people are building structures, awnings, gazebos and frames to maximise the time that can have in the garden. There are many ways to shield from windy conditions, intense heat (even though it doesn’t happen very often) and of course rain.  In this article I will make some suggestions as to how you may combat the problems caused by the sky.

Wind; a real problem if you are having a BBQ, reading a book and doing work in the garden. Papers can fly about, food can blow about and your hair goes everywhere!  There is a very easy solution – windbreak netting.  Make sure that you get a heavy duty net, one that will last a number of seasons, cheap stuff can rip and break easily in stronger gusts. A good quality product will be knotted for extra strength and will have eyelets to help secure it. The netting can be attached to poles (wood or metal), frames and many other surfaces. The good thing is that you can see through most brands, so you are not putting a great view at risk. Below are some pictures to show how it may be used.

Shade netting above seating area.

Outside garden area

You can kill two birds with one stone; by using a tarpaulin you can create protection from sun and rain. You can either create or buy a frame to sit over areas of your back yard or you can attach it to existing buildings or structures. I would personally recommend a heavy duty tarpaulin that is black on one side and silver on the other, the reason is as follows. With this silver side up it will deflect the sun and keep the area you are using cooler, the black looks great at the top of a structure – very roof-like. Having put one up you have also created an area that is protected from rain, just please make sure that you create a run-off so water doesn’t pool. Do not hang by the eyelets, tarps are often not strong enough and need support.

For other ideas and tips please comment below. People would love to hear what you’ve done!

Keeping Birds Off and Away From Your Balcony

Many people in apartments and flats enjoy their balcony, whether it be for al fresco dining, growing plants, a seating area and more. The last thing that you want is debris and droppings caused by birds spoiling all of your hard work. Pigeons, amongst other birds, are the most common threat to the cleanliness of your balcony and therefore a solution is almost necessary if you want an area to grow plants or have your lunch.

The most humane and economical method of prevention is netting; some forms are almost undetectable when looking out at the vista, yet strong enough to keep out a range of creatures. You can the preventative measures against destruction to your property, without allowing the aesthetics to be compromised. You will need a decent quality net and a mesh size suitable to you needs; the smaller the size of the animals you want to keep out, the smaller the size of the hole (standard is around 10mm x 10mm for keeping out most birds)

You will mostly find that net comes in either extruded or knotted/knitted. The extruded netting is usually of polyethylene construction and is the weaker of the two. It is still expected to last a number of seasons if treated correctly, but will deteriorate more quickly than some other forms of netting. The knotted style is stronger because it is built with multiple strands, creating a weave that increases the tensile strength

In terms of installation you have a range of options; most of them can be altered depending on the size, shape and contours of your balcony. The first is to build or adapt a frame; starting from scratch you can use timber or perhaps steel poles to create a structure that fits on top of your balcony. There are also items such as crop cages and garden frames which you may be able to change in order to fit your needs. With steel frames the poles will fit through the mesh holes to secure it; for wood you can staple, cable tie or nail it on.
You can also attach the netting to the building itself. I will include some pictures of this below:

balcony

Bird netting on balcony