Having done the clearing sessions (there’s so much more to do…) we’ve been looking towards the future. With ash dieback becoming more prevalent than expected (BBC- ash dieback) and with other diseases affecting native trees (https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/pest-and-disease-resources/chronic-oak-dieback/) we want to make sure that there’s a wide variety of native species throughout the wood.
The Woodland Trust have been running a fantastic scheme giving away packs of trees following an application, and J applied for this last autumn, and this week they arrived. Obviously when my car was out of action, and I was getting the bus to work! A lovely colleague, who had also helped out on one of the work party days kindly brought them home for me.
The first planting session was just J and I. We focused on gap filling hedging that was planted a couple of years ago where not everything had survived, and also planted a hazel stand in one of the newly cleared areas. We want to be more thoughtful about where certain trees are planted than has been the case historically, also with considerations for using wood and coppicing to get the best out of the trees.
With our new (relatively speaking) pond area, J planted a lot of willow around the hide, with a long term plan of having a natural hide. J and I also cleared lots more of the bramble and nettles that grew back this year and planted bird- friendly trees like wild cherry.
Dad has also been getting involved and planted a new section of hedge at the top end of the wood where it was completely open to fields as well as gap filling.
With 400 trees, and a long term plan, we didn’t want to immediately plant everything, so J and I also built a “tree nursery” for the oaks. They’re only little still, so to give them more of a chance once they’re fully planted we’re going to give them a couple of years of lots of attention in nice soil. Most of the wood is clay and it dries out badly, so if they are a bit more established when they go in the ground that can only be a good thing.
This was half an oil drum, gravel, topsoil, mulch and a lot of water! They’ll straighten up quickly and will be a lot easier to dig out to plant than they would have been in the ground.
This weekends plans… badger watching and duck nesting tube building…