Many holiday home owners choose evergreens for their caravan plot because they look great all year round and are relatively easy to grow and maintain. Whether it’s a few conifers or a hedge to form a barrier here are some tips to growing and maintaining evergreens on your caravan plot guaranteeing your evergreens thrive no matter the season:
Location – Evergreens prefer to have full sun in the summer but shade in the winter so planting them on the north side of your caravan plot is ideal (but not necessary). It’s more important for them to be in well draining, nutritious soil.
Pruning – The foliage on evergreens should be dense and compact, particularly for a hedge barrier. During the growing season from May to August, conifers need to be pruned 3 times – once per month is ideal.
Always prune the green growth unless you are growing yew trees since most conifers will not regrow from the old wood. In the case of yews, you can prune back to the trunk if you want to because new shoots will always grow.
A power trimmer is the most efficient way to prune evergreens unless they have broad leaves, like laurels, in which case you should be more careful and use secateurs. This will ensure that your plants don’t appear ragged and uneven.
Use trimmings to grow more plants – If you delay pruning until new growth appears, you can use the trimmings to cultivate more plants, thus saving you money at the garden centre.
The ideal length for trimmings to make more plants is 10cms. Strip the leaves 1cm from the base of the cutting and then dip the end in rooting gel or hormone powder. Plant each cutting in individual plant pots containing half grit and half multi-purpose compost.
Keep the plants in a shaded area of the plot and keep them moist. When you can see roots appearing through the holes at the base of the plant pot you can replant either in bigger pots or directly into the garden area you want them to live.
Planting in containers – If you have bedding containers you can add small conifers to them and they will flourish with no extra work as you will be watering and feeding your other plants in the containers as normal.
To make an impressive display, evergreens can be planted in large pots with compost that is high in nutrients. This method requires very little maintenance since the plants will thrive for several seasons.
Mould treatment – If the leaves of your evergreens develop black mould, you’ll need to treat it, unlike other plants with deciduous foliage that resolve their own problems by shedding their leaves.
Because evergreens don’t shed their leaves, the mould will stay all through the winter and will still be there in the next season. Mould prevents photosynthesis which is vital to the plant’s well-being.
The most effective way to get rid of mould is to mix a little washing up liquid with water and spray it on the plant. This has the effect of softening the mould and if you are able to use a hose, you can then jet wash the plant to rinse it off. If the mould is particularly heavy you might have to repeat this operation more than once. You can also wash the plant with a soft sponge or cloth.
If you intend to grow a hedge on your caravan plot do make sure that your holiday park owner is consulted first. There may be reasons why it’s not possible to put barriers around the plot. However, most parks will allow large pots with ornamental conifers.