We are trying to wrestle our recently acquired massive garden under control, with zero experience, so I'm beggging for help here . I could write a massive list of questions, but I'm going to start with one about weeds under trees...
We have three small apple trees which presumably date from when the house was built in 1930. They are close together and their branches are all intertwined and reach pretty much down to the ground. Last year I managed to clear the space under them by putting in some hard hours with a machete, but I failed to address the situation this year and it's all back again. I suppose I will have to chop it all again (it's nigh on impossible to get the strimmer under), but what's the best way of controlling this in the long term? Matting? Bark chips? I am really clueless.
get in there with the gloves, secateurs, shears,loppers, cutout brambles, tufts of grass, be careful not to damage the bark, you may find a nest or too,at this time of the year, you could weigh down(with stones) a breathable membrane to kill it all off, let the worms do your work,
look up over grown apple tree pruning tread carefully, are you sure they are apple,
Once the grass and weeds have gone, you can consider what would grow well there.
Good advice above. Definitely read up on renovation pruning of apple trees. Those low branches need to come off so that you can strim underneath. Then a weekly/fortnightly strim should keep things under control.
Ah thank you both so much, I really appreciate your posts. I got stolen by work and couldn't get back to the thread until now.
They are definitely apple trees -- we've had some lovely Bramleys, I'm not sure what the others are. quoteunquote, you have confirmed what I knew in my heart, that I have to just go at it again, and make sure I take steps to stop it all coming back. Renovation pruning sounds very interesting, Rhubarb. For some reason it had never occurred to me that I could try and make more space under them so strimming would one day be possible. They aren't very tall trees, probably not more than 6 ft. Some people would probably rip them out, but I feel sentimental about their age and the optimistic spirit in which they were planted, they are beautiful at this time of year, and I don't need the space for anything else.
Hard pruning will lead to them growing more wood. It's difficult to prune top-growth without encouraging excessive re-growth - second the suggestion to read up on renovarion pruning. You might also want to consider nicking the bark (down to cambium layer) or cutting away some roots, but you need to read up, do it in the winter.