Following on from our wonderful Big Dig day last November, we’re extremely pleased with the survival rate of the young saplings.
We reckon of the 300 trees planted in the front field we’ve lost only up to 10.
We think that there are three main challenges:
1. Grass. The trees are in a meadow and the thriving grasses threaten the trees by competing for water and nutrients. They can also block the sunlight.
2. The clay soil. Our soil is nice and wet in the winter months but with the hotter weather the soil can crack and expose the roots of the trees and they then dry out.
3. The spiral tree protectors. We’ve noticed that often the trees look quite poorly and devoid of leaves until they grow above the protectors’ height. Then they start to “leaf up” and flourish. We’re learning on the job and would be very grateful for any feedback/thoughts on the cons of protectors. Is it perhaps, a common occurrence?
We’ve therefore been busy carefully weeding by hand around each tree. To combat cracked soil we’ve been filling in with top soil. We’re going to take a risk on the rabbits by possibly removing the spiral protectors, although we will seek out advice before doing this. We’ll replace any trees with healthy saplings this November.
The birches, Hawthorns and oaks have done especially well. We planted a native mix of wildlife friendly species as advised by the Woodland Trust.
So, now we’re wondering if anyone would like to join us on the next Bee Shack open day for a “Big Bulb” day on Saturday, November 7th from 2pm to 4pm? We plan to plant a mixture of English Bluebells, daffodils and snowdrops in amongst the young trees. Bring suitable footwear and if you have one, a bulb planter. All helpers will get a goody bag in return.
We’d love to see you there.