Q:  After listening to your radio programme today,  I am a little concerned about my Indian Bean Tree which is 12.5 ft from house,  approx 15ft high and spread of 25ft.  We keep well trimmed but should it be cut down? Please advise. Thanks Mark

A: The tree has obviously been there for a number of years and if it has not already had an effect on the foundations I would not worry now.  Sometimes the removal of a tree that has been in a position close to a property can be more detrimental as you would be changing the amount of water that would be around the foundations.  If I were you I’d sit tight and keep an eye on it.


Q: I have a Laurel bush (tree) about 10ft high, 10ft long and 4ft thick. When is the best time to prune it,  please. Thank you.  Don

A: Ideally you should prune Laurels in May with secateurs and not with a hedgetrimmer.


Q: Dear Ken, I have an Abelia grandiflora in my garden that was planted by the previous occupants. It is some 10 feet tall and a bit leggy. I would like to reduce its height and spread. I would welcome your advice on pruning please.  Rick Porter

A: You could trim the Abelia grandiflora back by about one third at present, but it is better pruned back late April. So my advice would be do a bit now with the remainder in Spring.


Q: My lawn took a bit of a bashing in the course of some building work. I am minded to lay down a layer of topsoil and seed. Should I remove, or kill off, the old tatty grass or can I just cover it over and start again. Rick Porter

A: If you were laying turf I would advise a thorough cultivation of the ground, however if you are over seeding it will be not be necessary. Rake off all debris, then with a scarifying rake thoroughly scratch and agitate surface, add a good lawn dressing across the top again and rake in. Then seed on top at about 2 ozs to the sq yd. Others like you to rake it, honestly it`s not worth it, at 2 ozs there is enough for the lawn and the birds. Lastly do it as soon as possible as the weather is just right. Hope this helps.


Q: I have a Catalpa tree 18ft high near a garden wall.  I am getting worried about the roots of it … both for the wall and a
neighbours extension.  Does it have to go? Thanks, Bryan.

A: Catalpa is a very large tree and I would honestly say that it is better in a park than in a garden.  It would be wise to speak to an Aboreaculturalist for specific advice, however, you must check that they are insured to give you such advice.