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Getting rid of Japanese knotweed

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Japanese knotweed: two words no gardener ever wants to hear — especially when it’s connected with their own glorious patch of green. You only have to open a newspaper or turn on the TV to see another case of a garden and property being overcome by this fast-growing pest that can be incredibly difficult to eradicate.


Before we get to how to best get rid of this imported scourge, a bit of history. How did this exotic Japanese knotweed end up in the UK in the first place? To answer that, we have to lay the blame firmly at the feet of a German man — and a botanist at that. Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold thought Japanese knotweed was a pretty little plant and would go down well among plant-lovers in the UK. So, in the 1840s, he brought it here. Indeed, the public lapped it up — members of elite high society and botanical gardens, at least.


The love affair with this dainty-leaved, tear-shaped plant was fleeting, however, and soon people grew tired of it and threw it away. This marked the beginning of Japanese knotweed’s seemingly unstoppable spread right around the UK, with invasions particularly concentrated in the southeast of England and parts of Wales. We’ve been trying to get rid of it ever since.


Japanese Knotweed: DIY or the Pros?


Now that we know how this giant and growing mess came about in our country, it’s time to look at ways of properly treating it, so that it doesn’t grow back. The big question, one that every gardener affected with this dastardly problem wants to ask, is: can you deal with Japanese knotweed yourself, or is it a job for the experts?


Part of the answer lies in how extensive the weed’s growth is in a garden or elsewhere on a property. Simply slashing back the branches and hoping for the best is not going to work, however, as like most tenacious weeds (think nettles and thistles), it will quickly shoot back up and start growing all over again. Bear in mind that this is one rapid grower. During its peak growing season in the summer, it can expand by up to 20cm in a day. That’s a lot of plant to deal with.


It’s safe to say that most gardeners find it an entirely frustrating experience when trying to eradicate Japanese knotweed themselves. The plant’s extensive root system can be just too entrenched and complicated to exterminate, which is where the problem really lies. Even if you dig up the roots, some parts of it will surely remain in the ground and soon start sending up new shoots.


A Task for the Experts


Japanese knotweed removal is best left to those who know what they’re doing. Experienced Japanese knotweed eradication firms will use herbicide treatments or dig-out methods to ensure nothing is left. The best ones will provide an insurance-backed guarantee that it won’t come back — and, if it does, there will be no further cost for additional extermination work.


Many gardeners will naturally be worried about the Japanese knotweed removal cost and it’s certainly a valid one. But consider that, if left untreated, Japanese knotweed can cause significant damage and loss in value to a property, as the root network becomes ever more extensive. Also, there are legal ramifications if it spreads onto a neighbouring property or land.


It’s not illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your own property, but you’ll almost certainly encounter difficulties if you want to sell it. A new survey shows that most people would walk away from a property they were considering buying if they knew there was Japanese knotweed growing somewhere on it. Not only that, but mortgage providers will not approve a mortgage unless the problem is professionally dealt with and there’s a solid guarantee in place.


With Japanese knotweed in your garden, it’s best to leave it to those with experience and keep your hands clean. Call in the pros.


Recycling in the garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Recycling in the garden not only makes environmental sense it often makes economic sense as well. With the cost of removing old materials such as paving slabs and old concrete bases recycling makes good sense. The GardenAdvice Team when helping to develop a garden have a strong focus on recycling materials from gardens using a range of methods such as 

  • Shredding and chipping plant prunings for use on site as a mulch or to start a compost heap
  • Crushing old concrete for use in new patio and path bases
  • Using the internet to offer free clean hardcore to other parties for use in building and construction projects
  • Storing and recycling stone onto other garden developments in walls and alpine gardens

It’s not possible to recycle everything in a garden and you will often have to hire waste skips etc however by hiring a firms such as this which are committed to recycling and being as Eco-friendly as possible it’s possible to extend your recycling efforts 

How to start grafting

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Grafting in the garden

Do you also grow your own vegetables in your garden? Grafting can be used as an effective technique for growing this produce too — find out why this is the case by reading this guide and learn the process for doing so with advice from the Royal Horticultural Society

When you’re eager to save space in your small garden, grafting your plants can be the ideal solution for you.

Grafting: what is it?

Grafting, or what sometimes is referred to as graftage, is something that is becoming more common for those with smaller gardens. Grafting in the world of horticulture refers to a practice whereby either a bud, scion or a shoot of a plant is inserted into a groove, slit or the like in a stem or stock of another plant, so that it can continue to grow.

There are some trees that can be grafted, such as ornamental, shrubs and fruit trees. Click here to find out more about why you should grow grafted plants and keep on reading to find guides explaining how to graft fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs…

Grafting ornamental trees and shrubs

You could face some issues when it comes to grafting trees and ornamental shrubs as it can be a struggle to undertake other means such as cultivars or cuttings. Grafting ornamental trees and shrubs also means plants, which grow weakly via their own root systems, can be strengthened and a larger flowering plant can be produced in a shorter timescale.

A technique that is commonly used for shrubs and ornamental trees is splice grafting. This technique is usually started in the early weeks of Spring ahead of the sap beginning to rise. However, it can also be pursued in the autumn months.

To start this, you need to cut the scion wood (located above the bud) into lengths of 15-25cm. The rootstock should also be cut down to around 7.5cm, before a downward nick of around 3cm is made below the top of the rootstock.

Next, begin at the top of the rootstock and make a downward sloping cut to meet the initial cut. Remove the slither of wood that is the result of this step. The scion wood should then be taken and a cut made along one side that is the same length as the cut that has already been made on the rootstock.

Now turn your attention to the base of the scion wood, by making a short-angled cut and fitting the base into the rootstock — the cambiums (which is the green layer found just underneath the bark) should meet during this process.

Finally, wrap the graft in some sort of tape to keep it in the correct position – use grafting wax to close any open surfaces. You should expect to see new growth from the graft around six to eight weeks after the procedure has been completed.

Grafting fruit trees

Dobies of Devon, specialists in garden plants and seeds stockist, give the lowdown on grafting fruit trees:

Fruit trees are another type of tree that is often grafted. They may become too vigorous if left to grow on their own root system. The technique also means a fruiting plan can be produced in a quicker period of time, while it allows a weak-growing cultivar to be invigorated too.

Another type of grafting that is often used is whip and tongue. This way of grafting is the recommended method when looking at fruit trees, with this often carried out during the month of March or into the early weeks of April, so long as rootstocks have been planted at least 12 months beforehand. However, there are some steps to take ahead of March arriving. Healthy and vigorous shoots from the scion tree should be selected either in December or January, with a 23cm length removed by cutting just above a bud on the tree. Five to six scions should then be bundled together and heeled into a site that is well-drained and sheltered, with between 5 and 7.5cm left showing above the soil to keep them moist yet dormant.

The top of a rootstock should be cut off at around 15-30cm above ground level – remember to trim the side shoots. This usually happens around February, ahead of bud break.

Now, you need to make a cut that is in an upward-sloping direction on one side that is 3.5cm. This also needs to exit half way through the stem, before making a downward cut that is one-third of the way down the exposed face that is the result of the first cut. This particular cut needs to be 0.5cm deep so to form the ‘tongue’.

It’s now time to focus on the scion. This should be around three to four buds long — and make a flat sloping cut that is 5cm long and positioned just behind a bud. By making an upward cut that is 5mm deep, the corresponding ‘tongue’ will be established.

After this process, the last thing that you need to do is bring the two ‘tongues’ together. They need to interlock and work to match the two cambiums together, binding everything together using either grafting tape or raffia.


Advice on choosing the right fence

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Replacing a fence can be both a tiresome and difficult task, which is why ensuring the quality of materials, integrity of installation and choosing the right fence are all vitally important considerations when selecting the right fencing for your project.
When buying a new fence or replacing an existing system it’s important to give thought to the quality of materials you desire. The better the quality of material the longer the product will last, ultimately. Ensure you give thought as to where the fence will run; the type of the fence and the style.

We get a lot of questions from buyer’s everyday about what types of fencing there and common things to consider when thinking about fencing so use the below information to help make the right decision.

There are 5 main types of timber fencing

• Solid privacy fencing

• Semi sold decorative fencing

• Pale fencing

• Slatted fencing

• Traditional panel fencing

To make the decision process easier we have listed our five tips for choosing and installing a fence:

• Be as accurate as you can when estimating the cost otherwise they spiral out of control. Jacksons have a specially designed fence builder calculator app on the site to help you make better informed decisions about the quantity of the fence-panels and the cost.

• Only use good quality materials, pressure treated timber is usually best because of the long life span.

• The construct of the fence is important. All fencing should be made by professionals to a high standard without taking shortcuts, to ensure it lasts and not until the next storm.

• Choose the right fence for your requirements, a slatted fence may be beautifully modern but if you require privacy then it may not be viable. Jacksons have created a range of decorative privacy fence panels to meet even the most obscure requirements.

• Lastly, fence installation: How well the fencing is installed has a direct impact on how long it can last. Only use well trained qualified professionals who can deliver.

The Quality of Material

The quality of the material used to build the fence is important for both the aesthetic appeal and life of the product. At Jacksons Fencing, all timber products undergo our strict timber treatment process – a unique process whereby the treatment penetrates deep into the heartwood. We use Radiata, Redwoods and Corsican Pine because they absorb our unique timber treatment extremely well, due to being softwoods.

The benefit of undergoing this treatment process is the timber becomes guaranteed for 25-years meaning a reduced carbon footprint as the system should never need replacing.

The expected length of life

To ensure your fence lasts the test of time, it’s important to ensure you’ve chosen the right manufacturer & supplier along with the right fence. One of the greatest blockages when choosing a fence is budget, however replacing a cheap and cheerful fence two, three even four times can be a great deal more expensive than choosing a superior timber fence and having it expertly installed.  

The integrity and the construction of the materials used

Something to look out for: if a fence panel or gate is constructed using thin pales or a weak support rail, then it is unlikely to last under the scrutiny of weathering and you can guarantee you’ll be replacing that fence after a mild storm.

Choosing the right fencing for the right job

The days of featherboard fencing on every street are a blur, nowadays fencing comes in various designs and styles for many different uses. Whether you need to improve home security, or you’re a garden lover who wants contemporary fencing there is a whole range of fence panels available on the market. Discover some of our products visit Our fence panel page 

The fence installation

The final part of the process, the installation of your new fence, do you pay for a skilled labourer which costs money, or do-it-yourself? Whatever is easiest, as long as it’s done by a trained professional with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Houses in Preston are worth almost 50% more with the addition of a garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Is Your Garden Worth It – in terms of the value of your property and its saleability the answer is defiantly Yes !! 

· Based on Hatched’s live property ads, houses in Preston are worth a staggering 44% more with the addition of a garden

· Properties in London were worth 9% more if they had an outdoor space

· Homes in Manchester, however, instead showed a minor decrease in property value for those with the addition of a garden area

· Full findings can be viewed here

Is Your Garden Worth It? – With conflicting information and research on the subject, online estate agency Hatched add to the conversation, and help to answer this question.

The research looked at numerous factor, including: typical garden use; just how important gardens are to modern-day homeowners; and to see whether having a garden adds any value onto your home.

Using live ‘For Sale’ ads on the Hatched.co.uk site, the house listings were analysed to see if having a garden significantly improved a property’s value or not.

Using this methodology, the results suggest that house prices do indeed have a much higher average value when a property has a garden. Properties in the capital, for example, were worth 9% more with an outdoor space.

In Preston, however, this increase was even more significant. Out of the 31 current live ads, the average property value sits at just over the £100k mark (£106,127). Of these, the average cost with a garden equals £121,664, compared to just £84,615 without (£37,049 difference). Properties, therefore, were worth a staggering 44% more with the addition of a garden.

There was one minor anomaly, however… Properties in Manchester seemed to have a better average value without a garden, but this was only marginally (just a 1.7% difference).

The research also found that:

Garden Size:

· Gardens appear to be getting smaller (average size of 16.8m2 in 1983, compared to 14m2 in 2015), and this trend is expected to continue

· As such, speculation that the size of an average garden at the end of 2018 (next year) might measure just 12.6 metres squared

Garden Use:

· The majority (32.68%, around a third) of people admitted that they only use their garden around 20 times per year (equating to just once or twice a month)

· More than one in ten people (12.18%), however, said that they use their garden more than once a week

· The main reasons that people want a garden include: for their children to enjoy (23%); for pets (20.8%); for socialising (18.04%); for gardening or enjoying wildlife (18%); and, in some cases, to enjoy the weather (14.4%)

· A third (32.97%) of those over 55 considered a garden as being ‘very important’, compared to only one in ten of under 35s (8.38%)

· Overall, having a garden is ‘not a priority’ for those aged under 35 years-old

The full findings can be viewed here


Adam Day, Managing Director at Hatched, commented on the findings:

“In the past, there has been lots of conflicting research on the subject. For example, an article last year claimed that a good garden can add up to 20% more value to a property, whereas another stated that south-facing gardens carry a premium of just 0.37 percent over those with north-facing plots, dispelling previous myths that south-facing means more for your cash.

“As such, we decided to look into the subject more closely, to see if we could find any correlation or trends in the value of our current live property ads and whether they had a garden or not.

“While many other factors may also come into account for property valuations and house prices, including (but not limited to): size; location; design; appliances; and so on, it was interesting to see that, on the whole, having a garden does make a positive difference.”



Easy ways to create an attractive garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Late spring and early summer are an ideal time to get into your garden and start working. The mix of not too hot, but dry weather is better for both getting jobs done and also helping your green space grow.
As such, if you’ve been meaning to make your gardens more attractive and appealing then there’s no time like the present, but you might not know where to start. Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways you can quickly turn your gardens into something you can enjoy.
A Simple Tidy
It might be that you’ve actually got quite a decent garden already – it’s just hidden amongst the undergrowth. Invest in some quality garden tools and cut back any overgrown hedges, pull up the weeds and mow the lawn. Once you’ve dealt with the bulk of the mess, you can neaten off any edges and pressure wash dirty paving and patios to get a fresh and tidy finish.
New Fencing
Worn out or damaged fencing can be an eyesore, so you could invest in some new wooden panels to go around your garden. With this you need to make the foundations for your fence posts are deep and solid enough to make sure your fencing stays rigid and secure – otherwise you may find this becomes unsafe in windy weather. Also, it’s worth painting these with a protective substance to help preserve the natural wood finish. An added bonus is you can improve the security of your garden.
Sheds and Summerhouses
Sticking to the wood theme, a shed or summerhouse can be a winning addition to your backyard. These can also provide useful storage, but you need to make sure they can stand up to the elements. As such, you could purchase the structure from a dependable timber yard and also invest in quality roofing materials to keep these nice and water tight. The crucial aspect of properly installing an Eco-friendly roof from suppliers like Burton Roofing, is the natural and recycled materials that are more than sufficient in doing the job. According to Burton Roofing direct, they have fifteen years of research and development behind them and the Thermafleece Insulation is a go green product to use if you’re ever concerned about the quality behind the materials.

  1. Patios and Paving
    Going back to the aforementioned patios and paving, you could lay this down in one section of your garden to create a new social area. A tip here is to choose a flat or relatively level section to make this task easier and also to choose an area that will get lots of warming sunlight.
    Whichever of these you choose, you can get the added benefit of potentially adding value to your property – as an attractive garden can boost kerb appeal and be a big selling point. However, the fundamental part is with some of these easy changes you could quickly create a striking garden that you can make the most of all year round.

The greenest way to give your garden a makeover

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

There’s only a few weeks until we’re in the full throes of summer and that means that it’s nearly time to spend all our weekends pottering around our gardens.

The summer months are the perfect time to give our gardens a much-needed makeover, but how can we make sure we’re doing it in the most eco-friendly way possible? Many people forget that gardens can be damaging to the environment, when various chemicals and pesticides are used to keep creepy crawlies away from our prize petunias, wreaking havoc on the environment.

The eco-friendly waste disposal experts, Envirowaste, take a close look at how we can get the perfect garden whilst keeping it environmentally friendly at the same time.

Creating the perfect eco-friendly garden
When it comes to sitting down and designing your new garden, try drawing an initial plan of the layout and what you’d like to plant. This can help give you a better idea of how eco-friendly your garden can be.

Plot out where you could put a small vegetable patch, carve out a corner for a compost heap and note down where you could place some small solar lights, to brighten up dark spaces. You can even write down which areas of your garden need a complete clear out before you start your renovations. Make a list of everything you need to remove and the most eco-friendly way to do it.

Clearing out the old and bringing in the new
Many of us will have the garden waste bins that are provided in many towns and cities by the council, however, sometimes the job in hand produces more waste than these bins can handle.

That’s where waste disposal companies come into the equation. These companies can help you clear your entire garden and dispose of the waste in an eco-friendly manner. This means you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting and you can concentrate on the fun part of designing and planting all your new foliage.

Becoming self-sufficient
Planting fruit and veg from the comfort of your own garden has a huge range of benefits. It not only helps you to become more self-sufficient, providing you with tasty and organic produce, but it is also extremely environmentally-friendly.

Even if your first attempt at growing tomatoes doesn’t go to plan, simply throw them on your new compost heap and use them as fertiliser to grow bigger and better vegetables.

The perfect environmentally-friendly garden combines sustainability and relaxation. As much as we love to potter around the garden, we also need a space where we can sit back and just enjoy the great outdoors.

Starting a garden in 2017

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Help for beginners with a new garden
Become a gardener in 2017 with a GardenAdvice Gardening Course

Course available at local venues or in your own garden – we come to you and carry out the course in your own garden for you and upto 12 of your friends

If you are new to gardening it’s difficult to understand where to start with all the Latin plant names, different types of soils and different species of plants needing a range of growing conditions and environments. In response to this need and with feedback from our members and viewers the GardenAdvice Team have created a number of gardening courses especially created for the new gardener. The aim of our gardening courses is to provide you with a basic knowledge of gardening to get you started and provide you with ongoing advice from your own gardening expert for a full year through the Gardenadvice MyGardenTeam system, every course we provide comes with 12 months membership to our MyGardenTeam service
For more information visit


What to Grow: Fruit and Vegetables in the UK

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

  • For the greater number of the UK the thought to grow your own vegetables seems a menacing chore of lengthy hours spent in the garden after the novelty of growing your own wears off and a lot of people give up. However Suttons and Dobies are here to offer a helping hand! As top-end seeds retailers we can provide you with the best fruit and veg to grow in your garden, as well as how you can include them into some healthy snacks.

Spring Onions and Radishes
Both vegetables are capable of growing in a pot or in the garden and are perfectly suited as an ingredient to a succulent salad; the radish brings a natural pepper taste to the dish and the spring onions provide a sweet edge. These vegetables tend to grow better with plenty of sunlight, the end of spring is usually a good time to start planting the seeds.
A great vegetable to grow during the spring is the potato. They’re the staple for a vast number of dishes and go lovely with a lean steak or as a jacket with a tasty filling of your choice. The growing process is fun too: plant the seeds in a potato bag and as the green shoots begin to sprout recover them with compost. Carry on doing this until the bag’s full, then you can begin to water them. Wait until the foliage begins to go a yellow colour (around 10 to 20 weeks) then turn it upside down to reveal the potatoes you’ve grown
Blackberries are really easy to grow in the garden and are a British classic that go perfect in an overnight porridge. To create your fresh, nutritional breakfast first take your oats and pour in soy milk, just enough to soak them before mixing in your blackberries and leaving this in the fridge overnight to chill. In the morning, when you take the porridge out it’ll have a creamy texture to it which is sublime for a spring day. To grow these and make them easier to harvest when they fruit, train the stem into wires. Blackberries can grow anywhere in the garden as they don’t require a great deal of light or assistance. If you’re not a big fan of thorns an Apache plant will be better for you.
These are easy to grow and sprout in cooler weather, therefore the beginning of springtime is an ideal to get started on growing them. The peas once they’ve been planted need support from the stems, so be sure to use chicken wire or another netting between supports at the end of each row. Peas also taste delicious straight from the ground and are a great asset to a vegetable assortment or alongside a steak to finish off a lean dish.
Goji Berries
Goji Berries are more than capable of growing in Britain’s climate even though they are exotic and are surprisingly tough for a shrub, they can even grow at the windy coastal areas. However, they do need to see plenty of sunlight when the spring turns into summer months. The berries are also rich in nutrients as well as being extremely juicy. Mix these in a blender with other fruits and natural yogurt to create a superfood and help you take on any task the day has ahead, or alternatively, you could place a few off these over your cereal to give it an exotic touch.

Get ready For The Garden Slugs This Spring.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

It looks like a mild winter is with us in the UK and to make matters worse it just wet enough to help the garden slugs so its time to get ready for the attack of the slugs

Slugs Problems

The GardenAdvice guide to controlling Garden slugs and snails in your garden in order to tackle this common problem. After you have read our guide to controlling slugs, you should be an expert on slug repelling.


There are 24 different species of slug in Britain, about half of which can be found in the garden. Most slugs eat decaying vegetation, but readily switch to young or delicate plants, feeding on the leaves, stems, roots and tubers. They evolved from snails and in the course of doing so lost all, or most of their shell. All slugs are hermaphrodite, that are they have both male and female sex organs. Mating and cross-fertilisation is the norm, but every individual produces the spherical translucent eggs. These are laid in batches in damp places in the soil or under stones. A small replica of the adult emerges from the egg, and takes between 2 months and a year to mature. The activity of slugs and snails is highest in the spring and autumn. Slugs need to keep moist at all times otherwise they will dehydrate and die: thus they are nocturnal, and more active when it is wet.

For the GardenAdvice.co.uk 6 steps to slug control in your garden follow this link http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/howto/pests/slugs/index.html