Southern Water Biodiversity Grant funded - Hedging Our Future Project
In October we were busy collecting tree seeds ready for processing and potting up. We have collected acorns, hawthorn and blackthorn berries, wild plum and cab apple. We are also going to try spindle and guelder rose this year. Spring is going to be an exciting time as we look out for emerging young shoots with fingers crossed.
Planting hedges and adding new species
November is a great month to start planting trees as, in theory, the ground is wet and easier to dig and the newly planted tree roots have a chance to gently acclimatise to the new conditions. When creating a hedge the trees are planted in two offset rows that form a stretched-out W shape, with trees about 50cm apart. This creates a dense hedge with a good base allowing the trees to touch one another as they grow to form an impenetrable barrier, great for mammals to travel along and birds to nest within. Planting trees in a hedge line is much easier than it sounds. The trees tend to be 1 to 2-year whips that are planted bare rooted so they do not need big holes dug with mountains of earth excavated. In fact, you just need to put a slit in the soil with a spade, wiggle it about a bit and pop the tree into the small gap. A bamboo cane gets inserted and someone squishes the ground around the tree with their boot to close up the space. We don’t want large air holes around the roots, they want to be pressed against soil. A rabbit / deer guard is wrapped around and the tree and it is now planted! You can plant hundreds of trees in a day this way with some volunteers putting the slits into the ground, others following, dropping trees and canes into the holes, and then the final wave pushing the soil around the trees and installing the guards. Like a well-oiled machine it becomes a very efficient and easy way to plant a large volume of trees and hundreds of metres of hedge. Where hedges are gappy or the trees have grown tall and leggy, native tree species can be used to plant an understorey or infill. Introducing new species can help add biodiversity value to a hedge, offering a different food interest for invertebrates, birds, and small mammals. Hedgerows are so important for nature and act as wildlife corridors across the area. They also act to trap particulate pollution in air, hold back soil and silt from ditches and waterways and contribute to our visual landscape. Please help us to put back missing hedgerows and improve those that need some TLC. Tree planting is a wonderful and positive activity and you can plant a tree in memory of someone, or to mark a birth or significant birthday. You can do as little or as much as you like and can have the role of dropping these small light baby trees into the holes created, it all helps. For the best results trees should be planted between November and the end of February and we are going to need your help. Emails will be put out every week (subscribe to our volunteering news and events to receive these emails) detailing the planting sites and will be taking place most Tuesdays and some Saturday mornings. Please email me at email@example.com if you have any queries or want to get involved.