Let the Planting Begin!

by Lin Hawthorne in Flora (Plants), Management, Trees 0

Although our first tree planting date, 2nd December, 2012, makes us feel like we are really getting started on the creation of this new woodland, we have already done a great deal of behind-the-scenes work on the site, firming up our aims and mission, and the plans to fulfil them. Since we are using only native species, the selection of the trees is relatively straightforward – there are, after all, only 30-odd trees that qualify as native, along with a dozen or so tree-like shrubs.  These are the ones that colonised here in the wake of retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age some 8‑10,000 years ago (there are more refined definitions […]

read more »

First Things First

by Lin Hawthorne in Flora (Plants), Management, Soil, Trees 2

As a result of past geological events, the soils of Yorkshire are so diverse that a soil scientist can study more soil types in the county than in any other in Britain. They range from soils derived from the hard limestones and millstone grits of the Dales and Pennines, through to the pure white chalk of the Wolds and everything in between. Much of North Yorkshire was covered by ice during the last Ice Age, and the underlying rocks were covered by sediments laid down by glaciers. And since then, this skin of deposits – drift – has been further sculpted by rivers, lakes, wind and ice. Here in the Vale of York, the underlying rocks are cloaked in drift from glaciers […]

read more »

Wood and Glade

by Lin Hawthorne in Birds, Fauna (Animals), Flora (Plants), Mammals, Trees, Wildflowers 0

The creation of a wood on arable land with a crop of barley feels like a tall order.  There is such an overwhelming plethora of information and instruction on how this should be done, much of which has the clang of dogma, and little of which can be treated as universally applicable.  The requirements are likely to differ according to the aim of planting: timber production or amenity, production and amenity, or production, amenity and biodiversity, or any combination thereof. Winnowing the wheat from the chaff is our first task. Planting of a random mixture of all the available species is not the route to follow.  The starting point for a native woodland is obviously the choice of species, but […]

read more »

A Clean Slate

by Lin Hawthorne in Flora (Plants), Grasses, Management, Soil, Weed control, Wildflowers 0

We had an arable field with a crop of barley awaiting harvest, and an area of damp, rough grassland when we began the fine tuning in planning our Jubilee Wood.  We knew that weed control was going to be a priority, for planting the trees, and – critically – for managing the ground beneath, and on the open ground between them.  Our aim in the long term is to enhance the ground layer beneath the trees so that it will contain the perennial species – forbs – that are characteristic of natural, even ancient, woodland.  We know that in nature this can take hundreds of years to happen.  So what are the factors that prevent or delay the process?  And what are the conditions […]

read more »