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The Importance of Maintenance

With the short days and long cold nights it feels as though winter has truly settled in. The huge amount of rainfall has made it too wet to do many jobs and the cold weather has put an end to most of the others. However, this time of year is now ideal for pruning many trees and shrubs, removing the crossing branches, raising the crowns of trees and cutting back excessive growth.

It is important to consider two crucial things prior to starting any pruning task at any time of year. The first is whether your tools need maintaining. Poorly maintained tools increase the cost and the effort required and can often leave damaged stumps prone to disease infection. Keeping chainsaw chains, loppers and secateurs sharp is a simple way to save money and time.

The second and most important, is keeping pruning equipment clean. With the continuing rise of destructive, pervasive diseases such as; Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus),  Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) and the hated: Box blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola) in gardens, it is paramount to avoid spreading disease on tools. Pathogens are easily spread on cutting blades and their contact with fresh wounds makes them ideal for introducing infection into healthy tissue. Cutting equipment such as shears, secateurs and hedge trimmers should be sterilised with Propellar disinfectant before and after all pruning works and on large jobs it should be done during pruning too. Footwear is also a key vector of disease proliferation – picking up infected leaves on muddy boots from one part of the wood or garden and tracking it across to fresh targets, where water splashes will transfer the disease from fallen leaf to foliage, can easily be prevented by cleaning boots and spraying with Propellar cleaner.

Adopting such a ‘quarantine’ approach to work in high risk areas may seem extreme, but in order to preserve our favourite plants & native woodlands we must all take responsibility in preventing the spread of diseases.

For further information on preventing and treating the spread of diseases please get in touch with us via our website www.progreen.co.uk or via our advice line on 01778 394052.

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