It has been estimated that the plantation at Loch of Strathbeg has around 3000 lodgepole pines, a species planted for timber production. It is also a non-native species, which is why this stretch of woodland is gradually being removed. Our plan is to plant a new area of mixed woodland to compensate and create a space for all to enjoy.
Our woodland will consist of a variety of native tree species including alder, sessile oak, rowan, silver birch, hazel, bird cherry and holly all sourced from a tree nursery, about two hours away as well as ash and willow sourced from the reserve itself!
We have used a three different methods to plant our trees, pit planting, single notch planting and auger planting. Pit planting involves digging a hole with a spade large enough to fit the roots, backfilling and compressing the earth with your foot. We used this method when transplanting young ash trees from another part of the reserve because they had a fairly large, established root system.
For the alder trees which came bare rooted we used single notch planting. This involves using a spade to make a v shaped notch in the ground, slotting the tree in and pressing the slot closed with your foot.
Auger planting is being used for our trees that arrived in plugs. An auger is a tool that when pressed into the earth removes a small cylinder of soil big enough to fit the plug in. then we backfill any remaining space
We have also taken a few precautions to protect our newly planted trees from being nibbled by the likes of rabbit and deer. The whole area has been enclosed by a six foot deer fence and after planting we fitted tree guards, plastic tubes secured with bamboo canes and string, around each tree.
A variety of fruit trees will also be planted in a corner of the woodland for example apple, pear and plum trees which anyone visiting will be more than welcome to pick. Whatever is left over the birds will enjoy!
We began planting in October last year and will be finished by the end of March. Staff and volunteers alike have all being getting stuck in and having a tree-mendous time. Children from Crimond School also came along for a day to help and planted over 600 trees! We hope that in the future you all enjoy this new piece of woodland as much as we enjoyed planting it!
(Photos by Ed Grace)
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