Sunday, 5 April 2009

Shrubbery Security

People steal plants, Be it for personal use or for commercial gardening projects. It's not likely to be an opportunistic crime, but kind of planned. It doesn't take much, you just see the plant you want, and it its small enough, you grab the stem and pull it out, taking care not to damage it too much.

There are ways and means to prevent people stealing plants, this is a step by step guide to one of them, using chicken wire.

Tools you will need
  • Wire cutters
  • Leather gardening gloves
  • Sledge hammer
  • Claw hammer
  • Spade
For each plant you want to secure you will need
  • 1.5m x 1.5m chicken wire
  • 300mm length of 1.5mm wire
  • Three 2' wooden stakes
  • A handful of wee hooky staples for the wire
1. Whilst wearing the gloves use the wire cutters to cut a slit from the edge to the middle of the chicken wire square

Rhododendron security

And gently curl round the base of the plant, taking care not to scratch the stem with any sharp edges.

2. Whilst wearing the gloves use the 300mm wire to stitch the slit in the chicken wire square back together, starting from the stem side, don't worry if the stitches don't go all the way to the edge of the square, this is not important.

3.Fold back the edges of the chicken wire by about 6" and dig a shallow trench round the edge of the square, it should only be around 6" deep, and will be filled in shortly.
Rhododendron security

4. Put the three stakes under the chicken wire as shown in the photo, so that there is one on either side of the stitched edge. If it is a rhododendron, the rootball will be about the size of a football, so try to put in the stakes so the do not interface with the roots.
Rhododendron security
In time the roots with grow out and engulf the stakes.

Remove the gloves and use the sledgehammer to bang in the stakes so that only two inches or so protrude from the soil.

5. Use the claw hammer to put staples in to hold the chicken wire against the stakes, you may need to use more than staple.
Rhododendron security
When the chicken wire is securely stapled to the stake, you may hammer the stakes so they are flush with the soil.

6. Fold the edges of the chicken wire into the trench and then bury them with the leftover soil.
Rhododendron security

If you're in the mood for mulching, cover the whole shebang with about two inches to hide the chicken wire.

There is some debate about how much of a security measure this is. Will it stop people from stealing plants, will it just cause people to damage the plants when they give up. Should you leave some of the chicken wire and stakes visible so any villains can see there are security measures in place and it'll put them off. Will any plant thieves actually have wire cutters, rendering the security measure pointless? Since they didn't have spades to start with, any other tools are unlikely.

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