This winter we have planted 1450 trees across the sites we look after. Some are direct replacements for felled trees, whilst others have supplemented existing planting or were entirely new. We plant over winter as the trees are in a dormant state whilst they wait for the warmth of spring and longer days before pushing their sap up and forming buds that will be that year’s leaves.
On the Skirrid we have completed planting of the hedge banks around the new car park. It
was mostly planted in the first winter after construction, but there were some gaps at the ends where we had run out of trees. Now the whole bank is planted and we have had a chance to replace any failed trees from the first year, a process known as ‘beating up’.
We have also been making plans to trial some elm trees that have been bred to be resistant to Dutch Elm disease. We are just waiting for the nursery to be happy with them before planting. We will be able to plant these later in the year as they will be bigger pot grown plants with a more developed root structure.
Jess has also planted some trees down at Lanlay Meadows following on from some hedge laying she has been doing. In places the hedge was a little thin, so some new saplings will help to add a bit of thickness and continuity to the hedge. Hedges are a good food source and provide features that help all sorts of wildlife travel across what would otherwise be open ground.
We have also been continuing to plant at Pont ar Daf as part of our ongoing work up there. In the clear felled areas we have been planting a mixed upland broadleaf selection to help increase the nature value of the woods and soften its appearance in the landscape. Predominantly made up of birch, rowan and oak. In the damper spots and along the stream edges we have been planting alder as it is very tolerant of wet ground, in fact, it rather thrives in it. The last lot of planting has just been finished with the help from Gower National Trust Thursday Group Volunteers who also did some burning to help clear the ground for planting.
Tim – Woodland Ranger