The Lewis brothers have started re-planting our hillside with the new trees. They are simply amazing, probably in their 70’s they spend the day bent over planting trees and on the steep slope of the Fforest wood! So far, in the planting we have been doing over the last three years, we have put in about 20,000 trees.
Of course, not all survive, one area has been particularly badly affected by the wet and we’ve lost 40%, although they have now been replaced.
Because of ash dieback we have had to rethink our planting and take into account the fact that we are not allowed to plant ash at the moment, even locally grown as we have used up to now. Luckily ash grows like a weed round here so I’m sure there will be some in the new woods.
As it starts the trees are planted in rows, this not only makes it easier to plant but to look after for the next few years. All the baby trees have to be checked regularly and have Roundup applied to prevent the grass taking essential nutrients. There are ‘rides’ and ‘glades’ within the planting, although they are hard to spot to start with. Once the trees start to establish they have to be managed to allow the stronger ones to grow and that creates a less uniform planting.
Some of the species that we have put in will establish quickly so it shouldn’t be too long before the hill starts to look covered in woodland again.
We have just had all the young-stock ash trees inspected by a fellow from the Forestry Commission and he says that they are healthy and all clear at the moment. Our stock is locally grown so while that doesn’t mean we won’t get it, it does mean we didn’t import it. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that the prevailing westerly winds blow it the other way.
Read more about Fforest Farm.