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Hedge Clipping 6

Southern Water Biodiversity Grant funded - Hedging Our Future Project

In September the project has been busy putting together information and a schedule for the winter planting season. We have willing landowners on board, trees grown in our own nurseries from local tree stock and hopefully an army of willing volunteers ready to plant new hedges in Sidlesham.

Growing trees to create hedges - our tree nurseries and seeds

We set up the West Wittering Tree Nursery as a result of the FLOW project when we planted lots of trees across the area. We were given free trees by the TCV and The Woodland Trust and bought trees from national suppliers. However, due to the specific climate conditions of the MP with little rain during the spring / summer months, the waterlogged clay soil in the winter and the salt laden winds from the coast, we had a high mortality rate with trees dying in their first year. We decided that we needed to grow our own trees from exemplar local trees and so started to collect seeds. We then had to research how to get seeds to germinate and this included a trip to the Special Branch community run organic tree nursery outside Brighton for some guidance and tips. Their trees are fantastic and they were very encouraging. So many tree seeds need to be processed to remove the outer layer of fruit and this can be a mammoth task. Last year we used child labour in the form of cubs, scouts, beavers, and the wildlife warriors from the after-school club we run at local primary schools. We got the children to scarify the seeds by mashing them up with large wooden stakes and water. This worked really well and we managed to pot up and grow nearly 500 trees from seed. This includes oaks, blackthorn, hawthorn, crab apple and rowan. We have increased the size of the West Wittering tree nursery and put up a small poly tunnel so that we can germinate the trees in there through the winter. Once the trees become seedlings, they get replanted into the nursery beds and then grown through the summer. Amazingly they are able to grow about 50cms during the summer and are then ready to be planted out in the winter months once their leaves fall and they become dormant. There is now a tree nursery in Selsey too, with land donated by Langmeads, the Beryl James nursery, named after a long supporter of wildlife on the Manhood Peninsula. This will provide trees too for many projects across the area and hopefully all the trees will have a better chance of surviving with genetic and environmental resilience. If you would like to contribute to the project then find a good tree growing on the MP and collect the seed / fruit. If it is acorns you find then please put them in a pot of soil as they need planting straight away. Hawthorn, blackthorn, rowan, and crab apple can be stored in containers outside as the flesh needs to rot off or be actively removed. We will happily also take tree seedlings that might pop up in lawns or inappropriate places.


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