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Rose Lane Part 2 - Felling and Re-planting

Written by John James, posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018

This is a follow-up to the earlier post explaining the plans for Rose Lane.

Felling the HornbeamsActivity started with the felling of the Hornbeams.

The branch material was either chipped or shredded depending on its size, with bigger material being shredded for wood chip mulch. Smaller material was shredded to decompose into organic material for mulching.

The tree stumps were dug out by a contractor rather than the normal stump grinding operation to ensure that the maximum amount of root was removed and to allow for correct spacing of the new trees.

Tree pits for the new trees were measured out and then dug to the correct depth and dimensions to allow for placement of the new trees. The excavation was supervised by the House Archaeologist but nothing of interest was found.

The 22 new trees – Tilia x europaea ‘Pallida (Common Lime) were UK grown and supplied by Deepdale Trees in Bedfordshire. The trees are all around 6m tall and weigh about half a tonne each and arrived on one lorry load. The trees were all unloaded and placed into the tree pits with the same machine that dug the holes.

After much measuring and lining up by eye the final positions of the trees were agreed. To get the correct proportions for the avenue the distance between trees is the same across the avenue as between the trees in each row.

Once positioned the trees were anchored rather than staked. The hessian and wire root wrapping was left in place to ensure the rootball remains intact and will quickly rot away. Underground root anchors have several advantages over traditional staking: no obtrusive, visible stakes; less likelihood of damage or vandalism; and the rootball is held firm leaving the top  free to move with the wind which encourages vigorous rooting. The trees also have an underground perforated pipe which will allow us to get water to where it matters most in the summer months. Surface watering is not only wasteful as much will be lost to evaporation, but also encourages the tree to root near the surface rather than putting roots down to find water. Metal tree guards were placed around the trunks to prevent damage to the trees, the most likely cause being Muntjac deer that are regularly seen in the Meadow.

Finally the tree pits were treated with slow release fertiliser and a fungal mycorrhizal powder to establish a beneficial fungal relationship with the tree roots before backfilling with soil. These fungi, which occur naturally, greatly increase the trees ability to take up water and nutrients and will help ensure rapid establishment. A final topping of organic mulch will keep the trees moist and reduce competition from weeds and grass.

The final job, once warmer spring weather has arrived, will be to sow the now bare verges with a wild meadow grass and wildflower mix to set off the new trees. Aftercare will mainly be copious amounts of water in dry weather and any formative pruning as required. This should establish the trees nicely as they settle down for the next 300 years or so.

All the steps from felling to re-planting are documented in the images below.