Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Mandarin tree rehab

Here is our sad little mandarin tree.

I wonder who planted it, and what they were thinking when they chose its position.

As you can see, it doesn't like being so close to our unruly murraya.

While mowing the lawn I had noticed a flap of weed matting poking up near the tree. 

I think this black plastic matting may have been quite popular many years ago for weed control. I don't like it. The weeds find their way through anyway, and are harder to pull. And it stops worms and other good bugs from living a normal life in the soil. And it's nasty black plastic.

I decided to pull the matting up.

You can see the way the roots of the weeds find their way through the matting.

As I pulled, weeds and all came out.

I expected the matting to go all the way around the tree, but it was only on the side away from the murraya. I weeded the other side the old fashioned way, with a fork and shovel.

I also discovered a brick border!

It took a lot of work to scrape the invasive grass away from the bricks. While I was at it I decided to attack the murraya, too. I chopped quite a bit back from it:

The tree has a bit more breathing space now:

I was tempted to rake the murraya cuttings under the mandarin tree as mulch, but I was worried that maybe the murraya is giving out some kind of allelopathic gas. The mandarin certainly seems to hate it. So I stuffed the leaves into the compost bins.

Next it was time to add some fertiliser:

Finally I grabbed a couple of bags of Eucy mulch I had in the shed. It's chopped pretty fine, but the carbon -nitrogen ratio is so high I figure it will last ages.

I scraped the mulch back from the base of the trunk as I'm told it can cause collar rot.

All done! We'll see if the tree improves. 

I would love to actually get some fruit on this tree. I've only ever eaten one mandarin from it, and it was delicious! There are a couple more on the tree:

We'll see how it looks by this time next year.

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