This Autumn/Winter, we'll be planting a 600 - 700 metre informal wild-life hedge along the roadside boundary, (see blog entry 7th August) and continuing to plant trees and shrubs in the main body of the wood. We expect to reach a total of 1,000 trees and shrubs planted since last November/December. This includes what I've been growing in the garden from seeds, seedlings and cuttings taken from Old Copse, a few collected from nearby woodlands during last winter, and a few donated from a bit further afield. This Autumn there are 75 fine specimens to plant out. They've been growing in pots, so can be planted out at any time, but I thought we'd get them in the ground before we embark on the roadside hedge planting later on. I'm especially fond of these plants, having nurtured them so carefully, and I'll plant them near to the cabin where they can be kept an eye on . There are oaks, beech, wild cherry, alder buckthorn, alder, hazel, wild rose, and sallow. We've found that there is a fairly high failure rate among seedlings we find in the wood and protect in situ with tree tubes. They seem to do much better if lifted and potted up to grow on at home, then re-planted in the wood when they've got going, and gained some strength. I wonder if it's because they appreciate the care and attention they get at home.
As well as planting, we're experimenting with cutting the grass on the main ride and other parts of Old Copse, to try and enhance the ride habitat . The cut material is raked off to gradually reduce the fertility of the soil . Reducing fertility inhibits the spread of the common, more vigorous species, so allowing the rarer species which can grow in less fertile conditions, space to grow and flourish We're doing a bit at a time, and will monitor the results. Many species make regular use of edge habitats for feeding due to higher productivity of the herb layer and larger invertebrate populations. It's important to do rotational cutting and/or mowing because a greater number of species inhabit the first 10 metres of any woodland edge or ride edge, than inhabit the remainder of the woodland.
|A lot of this type of tussocky grass has come up on the Ride this year. Have yet to identify.|
|Part of the Ride after it's been cut|
|Plenty of winter bedding for mammals|