What about that yellow rattle?

by Lin Hawthorne in Community Events, Flora (Plants), Management, Meadows, Soil, Weed control, Wildflowers 2

Last autumn we had prepared our stale seedbed well in advance of the proposed sowing date for the meadow, the final deadline that we set ourselves being the 15th October 2012. We lived daily in hope that a damp, sun-warmed seedbed would be perfectly receptive for the precious and expensive seed mix. Hah! The heavens opened and the tap stayed on for weeks; the seedbed was then neither sun-warmed nor receptive.  It was inundated, stayed inundated all winter, and it was the beginning of May before conditions for sowing came good again.  The whole 10ha. of meadow germinated well, was glorious throughout summer, and most of us were thrilled by the shimmer of pollinators above the nurse crop […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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