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The Lady Mary Memorial Wood

Woodland Trust Email

Below is an email sent from Hannah of the Woodland Trust on 24th May 2019 in regards to the creation of The Lady Mary Memorial Wood.

Great on fencing and volunteers! Ah, I included as best I could a colour coded site plan of where I'm predicting species will do best on page 4. The blue zones were the wettest areas from photographs and from aerial satellite mapping so willow, alder, aspen, bird cherry and downy birch should be focused in the areas that are most wet and covered in rushes. Planting straight into the rushes will be slightly harder work than into grass but has been successful on similar sites in the past. Photograph 3, showing the rushes and established willow is the best representation of these zones.

The grassier, drier zones are marked in green and this is where I'm hoping the oaks, rowans, hazels, thorns, dog rose, crab and field maple would be better suited. Photograph 1 on page 3 best represents these dry, grassy areas. Id be looking to plant between 1-3m apart in species copses. I can include some walkways and open spaces on the site plan but I'm a little nervous about allocating exact spots for trees on the map as when planting you can come across planting difficulties such as waterlogged ground or rocks so a degree of flexibility within the plan is needed. I'd expect to see between 10-20% losses across the site and the WT would be happy to replace these loses in the subsequent 3 planting season.

I would be happy to dedicate a day to come along to a planting event but I'd need a little bit of notice as to which day (Fridays/Saturdays would work best for me). I could demonstrate best planting technique etc and direct volunteers as to which species would grow best where.

Volunteers would need to first mark out rides and glades (this can be done before the trees are delivered). I find the best way to do this is using bamboo canes/stakes and string. The rides themselves should be approximately 10m wide. I've included a potential design for this which would incorporate a reasonable amount of open space, which is absolutely vital for woodland habitats.

Once the rides and glades are marked out, I find the best way to tackle tree planting it to have groups of volunteers that work as a conveyor belt almost. One person would have, for example a bag of alders and would plant between 13-21 in an area, ranging from 1-3m apart. A second person would put the stake in approx. 10cm away from the sapling. A third volunteer would then secure the tube over the sapling and tighten the zip ties around the stake. The top of the tube is the end that flares out. The top of the stake should be at least 10cm from the top of the tube to ensure it is as secure as possible and can withstand heavy gusts.

The saplings should stay in the black bags that they are delivered in for as long as possibly to prevent their roots from drying out, so carrying a bag around and pulling individual saplings from them to plant straight into a hole would be best practice.

Planting as randomly as possible is always my preferred way, as straight lines don't look natural and can be quite obvious for a number of years! Planting in particularly dense with hawthorn and blackthorn will provide a wonderful thicket of habitat for birds, mammals and insects alike.

Best Hannah