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We have started to protect some of the regenerating trees in Catbrook wood. If we do not do this I suspect it will take a long time for new trees to get established.Tree sleeves0001

There is a lot of grazing going on. By what I am nor sure but you can see that the little grasses and sedges are getting severely nibbled. Tree sleeves0006Also a few weeks ago there were hundreds even thousands of tiny silver birch seedlings growing and now there are not very many at all. What confuses me somewhat is the lack of any animal droppings. I have seen two small piles of deer droppings and from the size of them it will be a small deer, Roe or Muntjack. I have not seen any rabbit droppings but I have seen some areas of soil which have been scrapped up.  I have also seen some large deer footprints (Fallow) and have been told that the camera which was put in the wood earlier this year did pick up a Fallow Deer.

Possible culprits are mice and voles, rabbits, squirrels, and deer but as yet all I know is that grazing is happening. Probably a combined effort by all of them, and as winter draws on I suspect it will only get worse.

At the recent woodland show we looked at lots of different forms of tree protection. We were given a recycled cardboard sleeve and it is now in place protecting a small Beech tree.Tree sleeves0002 I am not too sure about these sleeves though. Two things bother me. One is how they will stand up to wet weather, they are quite thick and the man assured me they do not disintegrate…. we will see. My main concern is the lack of light. Down the bottom of the tube it is quite dark, the only light comes in from the top. The man said this would encourage the trees to grow up tall and straight to reach the light. He would say that….. but if it is too dark then they will not have enough energy to grow in the first place. Again time will tell, but I have decided not to invest in this type of sleeve for the moment. If anyone has any experience of these sleeves then please leave a comment.Tree sleeves0003

So we have gone for the tried and tested plastic spirals held in place with a bamboo cane. We have bought 1000 of these and so far put up about 250. It is quite a slow job because we are not planting trees, we are simply looking for naturally growing trees and then popping a sleeve over them so that the grazers, who ever they may be can’t eat them. The most time consuming part is wandering around looking for suitable trees. There are some Oaks, a reasonable amount of Silver Birch, a few Rowan, Larch and Holly. That is about it. I have collected a lot of Beech masts and Hazel nuts which I hope to get going next Spring and then plant out in 2016. Its slow progress.Tree sleeves0002

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