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Time to plant trees, hedges and large shrubs

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

We are coming into the season where traditionally people plant trees, hedges and large shrubs. This is because we are heading into the dormant period for plants, and it will be possible to buy a large selection bare rooted.

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Bare rooted plants are, as the name suggests, not potted up. This makes them less labour intensive and therefore, much cheaper. When buying large quantities such as hedging, or large value items such as trees, it really is worth looking into the bare rooted option. These should be in larger garden centres from mid-October until around April.

There are some trees worth looking at for this time of year. One of my favourites is the Eucryphia. A slender tree, growing into a columnar shape, it is ideal for a smaller garden. The white flowers are a great source of food for pollinators at this time of year, and a welcome sight at the trail end of the season. Having said that, the tree I have in the garden seems to have flowers on it year round! There is also a pretty pink cultivar, called ‘Ballerina’. These trees are commonly known as leatherwood, and their glossy green leaves are a great backdrop for the abundant flowers. They can be pruned after flowering, and this really encourages flowering the following year. Eucryphias are also suitable for large pots, as long as they are watered well.
Rhus, or Stag’s horn Sumach, is another favourite. Their autumnal colour is one of the best, and it is worth planting in a sheltered spot to avoid the leaves being blown off – even though it is very hardy. This is a large shrub, or small tree and please be aware, it suckers! The leaves are like large ash leaves, and are not temperature reliant for colouring. On female and male plants, red velvety flower cones appear in the spring, which turn to clusters of red berries on the female plants. These last well into the following spring.

Cercis siliquastrum is a small tree well worth planting if you have a sheltered site. It has beautiful heart shaped leaves which emerge coppery in the spring and turn a lush green and go a brilliant yellow in the autumn. It has clusters of purple flowers which resemble pea flowers in May.
There are many acers which also have a magnificent autumn colour, such as Acer griseum, which has a peeling bark and bright red autumn colour. A slow growing tree, it will happily sit well in any moderately sheltered spot.

Any article about tree colour would not be complete without mentioning the mountain ash, or Sorbus. Now, until about a year ago, I would always recommend ‘Joseph Rock’ a mountain ash with the most gorgeous yellow berries. However, my heart has been stolen by S. pseudohuphensis ‘Pink Pagoda’. Starting in spring, with the unfurling of the grey-green foliage, moving on to the blush pink flowers, followed by proper pink berries – no wishy washy colours here! As with most Sorbus varieties the foliage turns bright red, which really makes the berries pop! The berries hang on right through the winter until the birds realise they are there… a good reason to put out bird feeders!

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on MyHome.ie in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 killarney@dng.ie for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

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A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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