We have been working on an afforestation project in Dorset. This tree planting project aims to turn low grade grazing land, into a mixed broad leaf and coniferous tree plantation with the establishment over 50,000 trees.
Selecting non productive grassland areas for woodland creation, especially when the ground is wet or has poor soil conditions for traditional grazing or arable farming, is an ideal way to utilise land to its full potential.
As part of the site preparation, we carried out line spraying with our atv and boom sprayer. This allowed a speedy and efficient way of marking out the rows for planting, whilst ensuring that competition from weeds and grasses during the early stages of the trees establishment, will be kept to a minimum.
The tree selection was made based on suitability for the chalk/clay soil conditions along with a future view on timber use and value.
A mix of 7,000 broad leaf cell grown whips were made up of oak, small leaf lime, cherry and sycamore. The softwood selection of over 43,000 bare root trees was made up of Douglass fir, western red cedar, with a nurse crop of red alder and birch mixed in. For wetter areas an equal mixture of Norway spruce and western red cedar was planted.
Red alder in particular was selected for its ability to fix nitrogen, and live in nitrogen poor soils. Importantly it grows alongside Douglass fir in its native north America, and with a such a high volume of Douglass fir in the conifer mix this made for a good selection.
The task of planting the trees was made very efficient with the use of an Egedal tree planting plough on the back of a tractor. This allowed for straight rows, accurate spacing, and quick planting.
Once the broad leaf trees had been planted, we staked and tubed each individual tree to provide support and protection.
Using our quad and trailer helped make this laborious task quicker and easier!
The conifer plantations had previously been deer fenced, so tubes were not a necessity within these areas.
The rows were spaced so that future maintenance can take place with ease, allowing for a tractor and swipe to clear vegetation.
Rides and footpaths through each plantation were all planned and taken into consideration, along with the importance of leaving exclusion zones from power lines, and ensuring that planting row directions prevent machinery from working on a side slope when harvesting takes place in the future.
Whilst harvesting trees for timber is the prime objective in forestry, it is rewarding to ensure that future stocks are established with large scale planting schemes such as this one. The ecological and environmental benefits are obvious; providing habitat, soil stability, shade, shelter, food, and one day hopefully the economic benefit of quality timber can be realised for the land owner.
To arrange tree planting for 2020 please contact us for options and availibilty.