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Mountain Ash trees

I have a mountain ash tree in my garden that was planted as a sapling more than 25 years ago. It has grown steadily in that time, but last year it struggled to come into leaf, and this year more so.The tree is alive, but with stunted leaves little more than a bud.

The tree shares ground with a vigorous Ivy, and in addition, approximately two years ago I lay weed control matting on the raised area where the tree stands. and covered it in 20mm limestone chippings.

Do you think that either of these factors could be affecting the tree's health. I would greatly appreciate any help or advice, and in addition would appreciate guidance as to whether I could treat  the area with some form of liquid fertiliser that would encourage the tree to start to flourish again next year.

Very many thanks in anticipation of any help available.

My e-mail addresss is [email protected]


  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,068

    This may sound a bit of a 'long-shot' , but when you stated you've covered the area in limestone chippings  , it is feasable that you have inadvertently altered the pH of the soil around your tree .

    Sorbus species generally prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5 to 6.5 is optimum) , whereas your chippings may have increased it to around 7.5 to 8.5 . A Herculean task it may be , but would it be worth removing the chippings and acidifying the soil . . Quite informative reading here !

    The ivy would have no impact on your tree .

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    I would bet its the chippings as well. mountain ash (or Rowan) prefer acid soils, try doing a soil pH test, that would let you know if you have effected it. if so try some ericaceous fertilizer and remove/replace the chippings.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,068

    Ferrous sulphate or a Sulphur based compound might work ; check first .

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,068

    Some of the best Sorbus I've seen are in Cumbria and Scotland ; high rainfall and predominantly acid soil ; lush foliage and glistening red-berries in Autumn ; stunning !!

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