Winter 2012/2013

Brentlands Estate & Days Cottage Project

One of the longest winters I can remember! We
had plenty of good proper winter weather with lots of snow, ice &
frost but didnt it just seem to go on and on?!

Pic – Tooled up for the day to fell 2 big conifers

Treeation undertook a
new exciting project for Brentlands Estate & Days Cottage in Gloucestershire. The
initial stage of work was based around surveying 5 small blocks of
woodland within the estate. Several visits were made during the time
span of a year covering all the four seasons in order to attain a good
picture of what we were dealing with.

A Forestry Commission 5
year management plan and a Conditions Operations and Threat assesment
(COT) were prepared by Treeation which will helps all parties gain a
better understanding of the woodland as well as providing a detailed
work plan that promotes greater biodiversity, illustrates work plans,
monitoring, and looks at income generation. We also want to become
certified with the United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Standard ukwas)
which is an independent certification standard for verifying sustainable
woodland management in the UK. We hope tobe UKWAS certified by summer
2013 and this status is as good as having the Forestry Stweardship
Council’s (Fsc) stamp of approval. This will be great for us aswell as
ensuring our management is being done in a sustainable manner it will
also help us with marketing and our products as customers will know we
are managing our woods responsibly.

Pic – A very large & old, orchard apple tree covered in mistle toe clumps

We were then able to apply
for grants from the English Woodland Grants Scheme (EWGS). This scheme
gives woodland owners and managers a great opportunity to access
grant-aided funds which are available for many different woodland
management activities.

Practical management has now started in
the woods! It feels great to actually be doing the practical work which
has taken so many hours of preperation and planning.

The first
job we undertook was attempting to save some of the veteran pollards
from peeling and collapsing into bits. The pollards hadnt been cut for
70-90 years so we took quite a cautious approach as too much of a shock
at this stage may have caused dramatic stress leading to the possibilty
of fungal and pathogen invasion.

We left large sap risers in each
of the 3 pollards to encourage movement of water and sugars to carry on
and to act as umbrellas helping to reduce moisture loss through the
pruning cuts. Now all we can do is cross our fingers and monitor new
growth over the next 3 years. If everything goes well we will remove the
sap risers and reduce the length of stubs at the end of the 3 years and
should then be back to a pollard in a rotation of 20years!

Pics – Top – Before & After pollard. Bottom – aerial shot in overstood pollard & stub cuts on pollard.

Other jobs on the estate have included removal of 2 large leylandiis (in the snow!) partly overhanging a busy road, crown reducing with coronet cuts a large ash which is riddled with Innotus hispidus and working on some large apple trees removing huge excesses of mistletoe. The mistletoe starts to kill off limbs after a while and the excess weight and increased sail factor leads to an increase in limb snap and even windthrow of the whole tree.

Pic – Dismantling 1 of 2 large conifers overhanging a road