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Pruning is an easy job

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

Most shrubs and trees are entering their dormant stage now but unfortunately gardening itself doesn't!

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One of the most important jobs before winter is upon us is pruning. Many of us live in exposed areas, and winter gales can really take their toll on plants. Excessive rocking in water sodden ground not only causes plants to break but it can also increase the ever growing hole in the ground which fills with water thus rotting the roots. Staking is an obvious solution, especially in the case of trees. The use of two stakes is ideal in very windy sites and in some cases putting the stakes at an angle against the prevailing winds is necessary. It is generally accepted that staking one third up the height of the main trunk of a tree is sufficient, rather than trying to stake the entire length of it. The second solution to wind damage is pruning. The less top heavy a tree is, or the less straggly a shrub is, the less likely it is to catch the full force of the wind. Many people are quite daunted by the prospect of cutting into their plants. It is an understandable fear; plants, and especially trees, can cost a lot. Pruning in general is an easy job if you follow some simple guidelines. First of all, never prune stone fruits such as any type of cherry, plum etc, until summer. This is to avoid silver leaf curl. Secondly, maple trees are also best left until they are in leaf. They produce a lot of sap which weeps from the cut, putting the plant under pressure. However, if left until late spring or summer, the sap no longer rises with such force. The main reason for pruning is to remove dead or diseased parts of a plant. Therefore, take a look at your plant before cutting. Remove old, sick or dead wood first. Then take a look at the shape, trim it, then take a look at the middle or inside of the plant. If the stems are crossing over each other take out the ones which are not growing outwards. This should give you a goblet shape, which is particularly important for fruit and roses. An open goblet shape will encourage flowering and fruiting as well as allow air to circulate, reducing the risk of diseases, especially fungi such as botrytis, blackspot and rust. Try always to cut an inch or two above an outward facing healthy bud, slanting away, so that water is directed away from that bud, preventing rot. Most plants can be cut back by one third their size, or, if they are very overgrown, half is generally safe. If you are worried about taking too much off, do so in increments. Either take one third of the overall height off this year, and again next year, or, alternatively, prune one third of the stems back hard, and another one third next year, and so on.

Finally, the tools you use should be fit for purpose. There are two types of secateurs and loppers; bypass and anvil. The bypass cutter is what I always use. It has two blades which, as the name suggests, pass by each other giving a clean, sharp cut. Anvil types have on flat edge, and these are used for dead wood.

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No spare change – no problem, as charity embraces new technology

By Sean Moriarty With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier. For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier.

For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank card to make a donation.

The Society’s annual churchgate collection will be held on the weekend of December 11/12 at places of worship in the town and surrounding areas. This year’s collection has be renamed as ‘Giving Sunday’ and makes a return after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s fundraiser.

“We are moving towards a cashless society,” explained Killarney Conference President Breda O’Dwyer. “You can tap and swipe your card to make a donation.”

Breda added that they are hoping to have the buckets ready by next week in time for the collection.

She said the local conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society has seen a marked increase in the number of families it is helping mainly caused by the increase in the cost of fuel and home heating products.

The annual St Vincent De Paul Society’s Christmas Jumper Day, in association with Radio Kerry is scheduled for December 10.

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SURVEY: Locals are reducing their social contacts

It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week. An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their […]

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It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week.

An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their level of contacts with people.

Interestingly, 37.10% of people had made no change to their lifestyle, but they could have been extra cautious already.

A tiny minority – just 1.61% – said they increased their social contacts over the last week.

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