Well it’s jumping the gun a bit because felling has not really commenced yet but given that in the next few months somewhere between 50% and 100% of the Corsican Pines will be removed then it is wise to get started on the restocking process.
As I mentioned earlier I am anti buying in trees from a supplier for three reasons.
1 They cost quite a lot.
2 There will be some disturbance to their roots and a check in their growth from the transplanting process.
3 This is my main reason, the genetic make up of all trees will vary slightly from region to region. This genetic composition has been developed over thousands of years and will be specific to the requirements of the immediate vicinity of the woodland. Each area will have a unique climate, soil and other environmental conditions, some even perhaps which we do not fully recognise. So it is better to restock with trees from as close to the local area as possible.
So I have collected acorns from under a number of different Oak trees all growing within a 10 mile radius of our wood, many from within just one mile. I have also done the same for Beech masts. The trees I collected from were trees that looked particularly impressive, in the hopes that their offspring would be the same. I have collected about 2,000 acorns, you have to be quick as otherwise they soon disappear, eaten or hidden by the local wildlife. The same applies to the Beech masts but these have the added complication that many are empty and others have a tiny hole in them indicating that some bug has been eating them.
Many of the acorns are sprouting a root as you gather them and these can be planted straight away. The root develops over the next few weeks and then the acorn waits for the warmer days of spring to arrive and then it produces its first two leaves and off it goes ….hopefully. We have planted the acorns by scrapping a hole through the leaf litter (mainly pine needles) using a spade, then dropping 2 or 3 acorns into the hole and then kicking the surface litter back into place, finally treading it down with an accurately placed Wellington boot heel. I have worked my way up and down the rows of Corsican Pines planting 2/3 acorns in the space between each pair of trees. This has covered about half of the woodland. How many will survive the winter and how many will actually get to produce two little leaves next Spring we will have to wait and see. It is a lot down to how clever the local mice, voles and squirrels are. The felling process, when it takes place will disturb a lot of the woodland but I suspect will not have a major impact on very small Oak seedlings.
The Beech masts need to have a period of cold before they germinate so they are at present in containers and taking up valuable space in our fridge, I am told they will have to be removed in the Christmas period but then they can return. From past experience they actually start to grow whilst in the fridge and you can select the ones with a white root just appearing and plant these then return the rest to the fridge and over a period of several weeks most of them will germinate. So these will be planted in the Spring. I have about 1000 Beech seeds.