Saturday, 21 November 2009

Tree planting

For a long time now we've been wanting to increase the diversity of trees in the wood, and we've finally got round to it. This week we planted 15 assorted native fruit and nut trees (sorry, no chocolate trees to go with them...), scattered through the area we coppiced two years ago. Here's the packages as they arrived, and the wire mesh fence we bought to protect them from marauding rabbits and deer:
Each package had to be opened carefully, although the trees were pretty well packed with straw and shredded paper.
Inside, the roots were individually bagged to keep them moist:
We've chosen sites that get a good amount of sunlight to put them in, and we'll keep the coppice cut frequently near them. For each one we had to dig a hole:
and then get the tree out of its bag and plant it quickly - you mustn't let the roots dry out. Once the tree was in the ground, we spread some of the packaging straw around the base to help keep the soil from drying out, and hopefully slow down the growth of any other plants right near the tree:
While Tracy was doing most of the planting, I got busy with the chainsaw and felled a few trees to make stakes. We needed 60 in total, and although we'd made some a few weeks earlier, we still needed another 30 or so. I felled a few chestnut of an appropriate size, and made lots of piles of four stakes:
We then used the post driver to put the stakes into the ground and fastened the wire fence round them:
This will hopefully keep out rabbits and the worst of the deer. The wood looks slightly odd now with all these little cages in it, and also the adapted milk bottles sheltering self-seeded oak:
Hopefully in a few years we'll be getting some food from them, which we will of course share with the wildlife in the wood - I don't think we get a choice in that!

Autumn is clearly well under way when you look at the trees:
although we haven't had a frost yet - as soon as we do I expect the few remaining leaves will drop off. Autumn has also brought wind and rain, with results like this:
The nearer stool was dead, but as it fell it hit a live one and combined with the force of the wind pushed it over too. We'll fell them both over this winter, and allow the root plate of the live one to settle back into the ground, where it will hopefully recover.

Despite the heavy rain over the past few weeks, the seasonal streams in the wood are still not flowing - this time last year there was a waterfall going into the culvert under our main ride! I guess the ground is so dry from the lack of rain this summer that it is still acting like a sponge...

I'm back to one day a week for my desk job now, and my Dad's coming down to help for a few days next week, so we should be getting a lot done - I just hope the weather isn't too bad!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog and nice wood. Keep it up!