big garden birdwatch

Support the Big Garden Birdwatch

The world’s largest bird watching survey returns on 29th January with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

While we are spending more time than ever indoors, you can still support this important campaign from the safety of your very own garden porch.

Here at Weston Sawmill, we understand the importance of keeping your garden looking spectacular, thanks to our range of decking, fencing and raised flower beds. For this post, we will share more information on the Big Garden Birdwatch.

Everything You Need to Know About the Big Garden Birdwatch

Pick a Time – Choose an hour between 29th and 31st January 2021. This means if you are an early bird or a night owl you will still be able to participate.

Log Your Results – Count the birds you see in your garden or from a balcony (if you live in an apartment or upstairs flat. Make sure you ignore any birds that are already in flight and avoid double-counting. Simply record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time; don’t keep a running total.

As we have mentioned, this year of the Big Garden Birdwatch will be a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning you can also birdwatch from your window if you overlook a green space or courtyard.

Once you have compiled your results, they can be submitted online from 29th January until 19th February. Alternatively, send your results by post using a downloadable submission form, but ensure your results are posted before 15th February.

Finding out which birds do not visit your area is as important as understanding those which do.

Thinking of Upgrading Your Garden? Get in Touch

If you are considering giving your garden an upgrade for 2021, please do not hesitate to contact Weston Sawmill today. View some of our latest work on our Facebook page.

Decking in Shropshire

Your Guide to Winter Decking Maintenance

As the leading supplier of decking across Shropshire and Staffordshire, Weston Sawmill knows a lot about keeping it looking spectacular, even in winter.

This is why we have put together this handy guide with plenty of information on decking maintenance during the coldest months of the year.

7 Essential Decking Maintenance Tasks

  1. Clear Debris – Autumn and winter can bring plenty of debris such as fallen leaves, twigs, moss and rubbish onto your decking. If left unattended, these organic materials will start to rot down, eventually creating a mulch which can penetrate the wood and lead to rot. We would advise grabbing a broom once or twice a month and sweeping up any debris from the decking area and put it in the composter or garden bin.
  2. Remove Any Planters or Seating – If you have heavyweight planters or seating, we would advise removing them from the decking and putting them in storage. If left out, they will create damp spots on the decking, underneath where they are placed. This leads to a build-up of moisture in this particular area which also leads to rot.
  3. Keep An Eye on Mould Build-Ups – Decking is one of the ideal environments for mould and mildew growth and build-ups. As it is situated close to the ground, water and moisture can quickly seep into the timber plus rainfall can, in some cases, settle. Other troublesome areas include the cracks and spaces between two boards. We would recommend giving this area a thorough clean to prevent any build-ups.
  4. Thorough Cleaning Process – A thorough cleaning of decking is needed in winter. For removing fallen debris that is too stubborn to move with a broom, try some hot and soapy water and elbow grease to get rid of it. Now you will need to pressure wash the surface to further clean the area and then scrub areas where dirt or moss have built up. The best way to prevent deterioration is by keeping your decking surface dirt-free.
  5. Remove Any Pet Fouling – If you have a dog or cat, make sure you clear up any mess they make on your decks as this can damage and stain the wood plus it can spread into other areas after rainfall. Another preventative method could be a temporary barrier or decorative fencing to stop them getting into this area.
  6. Paint with Timber Treatment – Wood preservatives are of the best ways to make sure your decking is long-lasting. Before applying treatment, check if the surface is clean and dry and remove any existing wood stain or paint. If any parts of your decks have started to deteriorate then you can always sand back to a better-quality surface. When the area is prepared sufficiently, apply the timber treatment with a brush and make sure it covers all the gaps and cracks.
  7. Apply Water Repellent – Roughly 3 days to a week after applying timber treatment, Weston Sawmill recommends applying a water repellent to help improve your decking’s life expectancy. Once applied, the wood is protected from moisture which also prevents the wood from decay. If left untreated, water will collect in cracks or gaps and will eventually penetrate the wood. Once trapped inside this will begin to cause rot.

Get in Touch for More Information

If you have any questions about decking from Weston Sawmill, please do not hesitate to contact us today and one of our team will be happy to help.


What To Do With Your Tree after Christmas

After Christmas we find ourselves left with a bare tree that’s been sitting in our house throughout December. So what do we do with the tree now that the rest of our decorations are down?

We will offer some advice on this blog post.

No Longer a Tree

If you have decided that you no longer want to keep your tree, or even plant it outside, there are a number of other ways to use your tree in the garden.

Turn it into mulch
Unwanted Christmas trees can be used to make a great natural mulch to be used in your garden. Using mulch can prepare your soil for the heavy rain to come, a layer of mulch will help reduce the amount of erosion.
To turn your tree into mulch you will usually require a shredder. If you, or noone you know, has one you can lend, you can look into renting one. We recommend gathering any other by products from your garden that can also be shredded at the same time. The trunk itself may be too thick to shred, however, when it is sawn up and dried out, it makes great logs for the fire.

Use it as compost
Unwanted trees can make great compost for your garden (minus the trunk) just shred it down as much as possible and add it to the compost heap. Be aware that the needles can take a while to compost as they can be quite rubbery.

Use the needles to increase grip
Sprinkle your tree’s needles across slippery or prone-to-frost pathways.While it won’t completely remove the risk of ice, it will add some extra grip. Or sprinkle them on muddy areas to increase the grip there.

Use as an animal habitat
Many animals struggle with the harsh winter months. Turning your tree into an animal habitat can help them to survive this difficult time. Cutting branches off and creating little dens in the corners of your garden, can give smaller animals some refuge in the bad weather. And smaller scattered branches mean that birds can use these for their nests.

Create a bird feeder
Keeping your tree in the pot to ensure that it stays upright, you can decorate it with treats for the birds in your garden to enjoy. Some ideas include:
– Halve an orange and scoop out the flesh. Attach three or four strings through little holes in the side of the orange to create a hanging basket shape. Fill it with bird seed.
– Attach string to a pine cone, making a loop. Dip the cone in peanut butter then cover it in bird seed.
– Thread popcorn onto string using a needle and use it as ‘tinsel’.
– Mix suet with plenty of bird seed, squish it into cookie cutters and push the shapes out onto greaseproof paper. Partly unwind a paperclip and embed it in each shape to create a hook for hanging. Pop your shapes in the freezer to set.
– You can halve and hang up old fruit by attaching string – even if it is bruised or partly rotten. Apples, pears and other fruit will be appreciated by the birds.

Planting Christmas Trees

Environmental Charity Greenpeace encourages people to plant their Christmas trees after use. There are a number of real trees that are perfect for an added feature in your garden. So why not give it a go this year?
Firstly you will need to ensure that your tree has its root ball intact. The best root balls will be on those trees that have been raised in a pot as they will not have had the same damage as those that have been dug up and potted.
When removing your tree from the home, try to allow it adjustment time, so moving it into a garage or a green house before the great outdoors will allow it to adjust to the colder temperatures. During this time, ensure that it has plenty of water to keep it healthy. When it comes to planting day, ensure that you choose a warmer and dry day. Dig your hole to slightly wider than your pot. But no deeper. Your roots should sit no deeper than they did in the pot. Saturate your roots before you remove them from the pot, this will hydrate them and make the move easier on them. Fill the remainder of the hole with as much organic mulch as possible. Ensure that the solid around your tree is kept as moist as possible until the roots have taken hold. And you have one planted tree!

Recycle it

If you want the tree out of your home and garden, you can always recycle it. Many garden centres are happy to take old trees and will turn them into wood chippings. There are also conservation schemes throughout the UK that welcome old trees, speak to your local council to find out what schemes are running in your area. You may find some nature reserves or wildlife centres that will be happy to take them off your hands.

For more information on Christmas trees, please contact a member of our expert team. Weston Sawmill offers the finest range of Christmas trees for customers across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

fencing winter maintenance

Winter Fencing Maintenance with Weston Sawmill

Winter can be a tricky time for exterior home features, from siding to fencing and beyond. The weight and changing consistency of melting ice and snow can lead to damage of even the strongest materials.

Thankfully, Weston Sawmill has put together an essential list of maintenance tasks to keep your fencing looking great all year round.

6 Essential Fencing Maintenance Tasks

Cut Back Overhanging Limbs – If you have tree limbs which hang over your fence, you will need to trim them back before the snow and ice arrive. The limbs will add a higher volume of water to the fence line which can lead to a thick buildup of ice. The limbs themselves will also get heavier with snow on them, which could mean them breaking off and damaging your fence. If you get ahead of the game and trim them this will not be an issue.

Don’t Let Leaves Pile Up Around your Fence – If you have some leftover leaves from autumn, you could be tempted to brush them up the fence edge. Leaves will sometimes pile up there on their own because of the wind too. If left unattended before winter, they could damage your fence in the colder months. The leaves lock moisture in and around your fence which leads to warping of posts plus they can become a home for unwanted bugs.

Once autumn is over, we would recommend taking care of your leaf piles.

Rake and Shovel Snow Drifts – If a pile of snow begins to form around your fence, use a rake or shovel to move it away from the edge of your property. You will not need to get rid of the snow entirely as it will melt on its own, just keep it away from your fence.

Avoid Attaching Items to Your Fence – Some people will use their fence as part of their wall with ladders, sledges and much more. However, leaving these items during winter means snow and ice will pile on top of them. If it is possible, move those items into your shed or garage until the Spring.

Complete Repairs Quickly – Winter can turn small fence damage into a larger problem. If your fence posts become weakened they will not be able to handle the expansion/contraction that comes with melting snow. Weston Sawmill would recommend taking care of any repairs quickly so your fence is strong and ready for winter.

Clean Fencing When Winter Is Over – Once the snow has gone, your fence could look slightly dull and dirty. Most fences can be cleaned using water and soap but if you would like to get it stained, we recommend talking to a professional first.

Contact Us With Any Questions

If you have any questions about fencing maintenance for winter or any other time of year, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Weston Sawmill now.

christmas trees

Which Theme Should I Choose for my Christmas Tree?

If you have recently invested in one of the Christmas trees from Weston Sawmill, you may be wondering what sort of theme will work best for your tree.

Luckily, our team have over 25 years of experience in providing the finest range of trees for customers across Shropshire and Staffordshire.

For this blog, we are going to share a handful of ideas to get your Christmas creative juices flowing.

Essential Themes for Christmas Trees

A Musical Christmas – If your family enjoys a musical, then you could use music notes, instruments and bells as Christmas decorations. Anyone who sees your tree once it is decorated will know exactly what it is all about.

Winding some musical note ribbon through the branches will add to the musical portion of the tree. You can fill in the gaps with gold and silver ornaments and tree picks to complete this elegant look.

The Coastal Christmas Tree – If you and your family enjoy the sand and watercolours of coastal decor, you could opt for a coastal festive theme.

Using shells, faux coral and manzanita branches will give the idea of the beach without going over the top. These types of colours are ideal for bringing a beachy feel.

Winter Wonderland Christmas Tree – A winter wonderland theme brings the outside indoors, using silver, white and brown colour scheme which will feel very wintery.

The earthy elements plus the furry owl decorations will prevent it from feeling too cold.

Snowy Christmas Tree – A snowy tree theme incorporates polar bears and penguins as the animal decorations on the tree. With plenty of white ornaments, snowflakes and white tree picks will give it a wintry feel.

Get in Touch for More Information

If you have any questions about Weston Sawmill’s range of Christmas trees, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

We currently have plenty of trees in stock, including Nordmann Fir, Potted Spruce, Spruce and Potted Norway Spruce to choose from plus plenty of Christmas decorations.

christmas trees

How to Dog-Proof Christmas Trees

Nothing is cuter than your dog posing in front of beautifully decorated Christmas trees for a seasonal snap – but remember they are not always a good mix.

Weston Sawmill is the leading provider of Christmas trees across Shropshire and Staffordshire with our years of experience vital when protecting your tree against pets.

Decorated trees using breakable ornaments and electric lights can be dangerous for dogs as they can be quite curious about the new tree in your home.

8 Steps to Protect Your Dog Around Your Tree

Don’t worry dog owners can still have Christmas trees, you just need to take some precautions. Read our 8 handy tips below on how to keep your dog safe around your Christmas tree –

  1. Go Artificial – If a Christmas tree falls over on TV it is very funny but it is no laughing matter when it’s in your living room. One alternative is choosing a traditional artificial tree, with a quality stand to secure its base. Prevent injuries to curious pets by placing your tree in a corner and anchor it securely to the wall or ceiling. You can also create an ‘alarm’ to alert you if your tree is in danger. Simply place aluminium foil or a can filled with beans on the tree’s bottom limbs and if your dog starts nosing around the tree you will hear it in time to stop any accidents.
  2. Begin With a Bare Tree – Before you decorate your Christmas tree, leave it up for a few days. This may help your dog get used to having a tree in the house, so they could be more likely to leave it alone when it is covered in lights and baubles.
  3. Beware Electrical Cords – Bright and shiny lights are hard to resist, but they can be dangerous to your dog. They could get tangled in the wires or could be at risk of electrical shock if they are a chewer. If you put your Christmas lights on the tree, leave the bottom branches bare. You need to secure cords leading to and from the tree plus you can hide cords with the tree skirt or decorative package. Use adhesive-backed cord clips to keep them off the floor and out of reach.
  4. Put Fragile Ornaments Higher Up the Tree – Your dogs tail (especially if they are a bigger dog) can be lethal to Christmas decorations. Broken decorations could be a choking hazard or lead to paw or mouth injuries. Also, keep your family heirlooms safe, and put fragile ornaments higher up your tree. Depending on how rambunctious your dog is, you may consider leaving the bottom third of the tree bare.
  5. No Food on the Tree – Chocolate ornaments and candy canes make beautiful decorations but they are a no-go for dogs. Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods for dogs, so make sure it is kept out of their reach at all times.
  6. Keep Toxic Plants Out of Reach – Holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are potentially toxic for dogs. If you decorate your Christmas tree with any of them; keep them out of the reach of your pets. Alternatively, look for artificial versions which are much safe for your dog. Pine needles are not particularly toxic but they are small and sharp, leading to injuries to your dog’s mouth and intestines. If you decide to have a real Christmas tree, make sure you hoover up fallen needles every day.
  7. Keep Candles off the Tree – Candlelight is great around Christmas time but open flames and dogs do not mix. Flickering candlelight, if you are decorating with candles place them on secure shelves away from your dog. The flickering effect can be achieved on Christmas trees using clip-on LED candles.
  8. Save Presents for Christmas Morning – Sometimes dogs are more curious about what’s under the tree than the tree itself. Keep your Christmas gifts safe and protect your dog from ingesting something that may not agree with them, by saving presents for Christmas morning completely safe from dog slobber.

Christmas Trees Available from Weston Sawmill

Weston Sawmill offers Nordmann Fir, Potted Nordmann, Potted Norway Spruce, Spruce and traditional Christmas trees from our nursery.

Contact us today to reserve your tree ready for the most wonderful time of the year.

christmas trees

Keeping Cats Away From Christmas Trees

It’s one of those age-old questions; what do cats find so alluring about Christmas trees? As one of the leading suppliers of Christmas trees across Shropshire and Staffordshire, we will attempt to answer this question in our latest post.

The presence of a Christmas tree can sometimes awaken the cat’s five senses and fuel their natural instincts, such as –

Curiosity – How does this new tree smell, taste and feel?
Hunting – The desire to climb, scratch and ultimately hunt
Secluded Views – The preference for high and secluded views
New Toys? – All of those bright, sparkly, crinkly and irresistible ornaments may look like toys to feline eyes
A New Play Area – Is this indoor tree a ready-made activity centre? Cats can be very lazy in winter meaning they are less inclined to go outside for entertainment and exercise

5 Ways to Distract Your Cat from Christmas Trees

While there is no quick fix to prevent your cat from being intrigued by your Christmas tree, we have put together these handy tips which can help –

  1. Pick the Right Tree – Real and artificial trees both have their advantages and disadvantages, but choosing an artificial tree is less risky when it comes to cats. If you prefer a real Christmas tree, precautions will need to be taken. Weston Sawmill would recommend covering the container holding the water for the tree and keep plenty of water bowls around so your cat has somewhere else to quench its thirst.
  2. Ensure Your Tree is Secure – Make sure you use an appropriate tree base for the size of the tree and that all fittings are tight and sturdy and add extra weight to the base (if required). For increased security, position the tree in a corner and use string or fishing line to tether it to the ceiling, walls or windows. Also, do not leave your Christmas lights on when your tree and cat are left alone.
  3. Decorate Wisely – Position your tree away from your cat’s resting and play areas plus any surfaces your cat could use to get onto the top of the tree and attack ornaments. Avoid using fragile ornaments, or if you do, place them at the top half of the tree. Rather than loosely hanging ornaments or using a dangling string that could entice your cat, try using twisty ties to firmly attach each item. Put any tinsel out of reach and try not to use foil angel hair decorations as they can often fall on the floor and be problematic if swallowed.
  4. Use Cat-Safe Deterrents – Never punish your cat for playing with the tree by shouting or using a water pistol. Your cat is naturally curious and playful, so reprimanding them will only make them wary of you and not the tree. Alternatively, try some positive reinforcement and reward your cat when they are not in the tree. Give no attention to bad behaviour, as this is still attention. At the same time, use cat-safe deterrents such as citrus scents along the bottom branches of your tree. Cats do not like citrus smells and will not want to interact with that part of the tree. Other alternatives include seasonal clementine or orange peels or coat pine cones in citrus scent or citronella and use them as decorations. You could also spray a bitter apple pet deterrent product on the lower branches.
  5. Supply Plenty of Cat-Friendly Distractions – By enriching your cat’s environment you will be distracting them from your Christmas tree. Provide loads of interesting things elsewhere such as toys, scratching pads and make time to interact and play with them. Offer treats praise and make a fuss of them when they play with things other than your tree.

Get in Touch For More Information

If you still haven’t ordered your Christmas tree yet, contact Weston Sawmill today. We have a large selection of Norway Spruce, Spruce and Fir Christmas trees to choose from plus traditional trees.

We start to stock our trees at the end of November, but if you would like one before then please give us a call on 01952 850383.

Christmas trees in Wolverhampton

Christmas Tree Care with Weston Sawmill

There are a number of Christmas trees that can be brought indoors for decorating at the most wonderful time of year.

The majority are cut trees, but some people also choose container-grown and containerised trees too.

Weston Sawmill is the leading suppliers of Christmas trees in both Shropshire and Staffordshire with customers travelling from far and wide to grab one of our homegrown trees.

Caring for Your Christmas Tree

The best advice we can offer is to purchase a locally sourced and grown tree (such as the ones at Weston Sawmill) rather than one that has been grown abroad.

When displaying trees indoors, try to avoid placing them too close to a fire or radiator as this will lead to excessive moisture loss and needle drop.

Tips for Cut Trees

When you arrive home with your tree cut 1 inch (2.5cm) off the bottom using a pruning saw and place in a stand with a well of water in the base. You will need to check daily and top up the water when the level drops, and with care, the tree should last four weeks.

Potted Tree Care

To reduce the stress and damage to a living tree, we recommend displaying them in a cool room. Try to bring trees indoors as late as possible (perhaps the weekend before Christmas) and do not keep them in the house longer than 12 days. If your tree starts to deteriorate put it back outside.

Pruning and Training

Christmas trees require very little training when grown outdoors. Try to maintain an attractive shape, removing any shoots that spoil the silhouette or any strong upright branches which compete with the leading stem. You will need to prune away any dead, diseased or dying branches.

Christmas trees that are planted in pots will be a certain size, according to the size of the pot.

Order Your Christmas Tree from Weston Sawmill

If you are still looking for your Christmas tree for this year, contact Weston Sawmill now. Our trees will be on sale from the end of November, but if you are looking to spread some festive cheer a bit earlier, we can arrange an earlier collection.

fencing in shropshire - weather maintenance

Protecting Your Fencing from Adverse Weather

While the British weather can be quite unpredictable, one thing you are able to control is the continued maintenance of your brand new fencing.

Weston Sawmill is the leading provider of high-quality fencing for customers right across Shropshire and Staffordshire, meaning we know a thing or two about keeping your fencing looking spectacular.

Here we are going to explore a number of issues and how you can fix them in no time.

4 Issues That Can Affect Fences

  1. Fix Any Existing Damage – If there is a storm on the way, check your fencing and secure any wobbly fence posts by replacing or reinforcing individual posts and replace any broken or damaged panels. It is also vital to check your fencing again following a big storm and make any repairs, as necessary.
  2. Keep the Base of Your Fence Dry – It is equally important to keep fencing out of contact with the moist ground as water collecting at the base of the fence leads to rot quickly. Removing debris around the bottom of the fence and make sure you have sufficient drainage in case of heavy rain. We would also recommend installing concrete or pressure-treated gravel boards for protection against moisture and rot.
  3. Prune Overhanging Plants – If you have overhanging branches that are liable to fall in high winds or heavy snow they will need cutting, as this could lead to costly damage to your fence.
  4. Protect the Wood – Using a preservative helps to protect against decay, mould and fungi. The right preservative depends on the type of wood your fence is made from and if it has already been pressure-treated or not.

Pressure-treated wood already has protection against damp, mould and insects, so will require alternative treatment to freshly sawn timber. It is possible to use a preservative on a pressure-treated fence as long as it is specifically designed for this purpose.

The Leading Provider of Fencing in Shropshire

If you are considering getting a new fence, look no further than Weston Sawmill. We offer the widest selection of fencing in Shropshire plus decking if you looking to completely revamp the look of your garden.

Contact us now for more information.

raised garden beds

The Best Plants and Displays for Raised Garden Beds

Bedding plants will give you a decorative summer display for raised garden beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets.

Bedding can be grown from seed, purchased as -plug plants or purchased as pot-grown specimens (often in multi-packs and cellular trays) that are ready for planting.

For our latest blog, Weston Sawmill is going to recommend suitable plants for bedding.

6 Plants Ideal for Bedding

If you are looking for easy growing flowers and foliage, we would recommend one of these six bedding plants –

  1. Frost-tender half-hardy annuals – This can include cosmos, nemesia, marigolds and tobacco plants which complete their life-cycle during one season. If they are grown from seed they are typically sown indoors.
  2. Hardy annuals – Hardy annuals can be sown outdoors directly into the soil during the Spring where they are to flower. The beauty of this type of plants is that they can withstand frosty conditions without protection.
  3. Hardy biennials – These can be short-lived perennials that complete their life-cycle across two seasons. Plants such as Alcea, Dianthus, Erysimum, Myosotis and Ornamental brassicas fall into this category.
  4. Half-hardy perennials – This type of planting will live for several years, typically flowering from their second season. Examples include Bellis, begonia, Pelargonium and lobelia. You can also grow Bellis, busy Lizzies and Viola as annuals or biennials.
  5. Half-hardy or tender sub-tropical plants – Banana plants, cannas and palms can form the focal point of a bedding scheme with succulents useful for creating patterns.
  6. Hardy perennials or shrubs – Add valuable flower and foliage colour throughout the winter with Erica, winter-flowering heather, euphorbia and heuchera. For beds and containers can have agave, dwarf conifers, cordylines, Phormium and ornamental grasses to enhance its appeal.

Bulks can also be mixed with biennal bedding plants and give you a bright combination of colours. We would recommend planting allium, Anemone Blanda, crocus, hyacinth, early-flowering Iris reticulata and tulips.

For Raised Garden Beds Talk to Weston Sawmill

If you are considering investing in raised garden beds to enhance your garden over the summer, get in touch with Weston Sawmill.