Planting for the future

Over the Winter months our Ranger team can be found throughout our estates in woodland, parkland and working on some of our community spaces in the villages. There are a lot of tasks that are easier to carry out when it is slightly colder, with less fresh growth on the trees and shrubs.

One of the tasks we completed in November was replanting new English Oak (Quercus Robur) saplings in a small woodland area we previously felled a few years ago due to the previous trees failing or dying.  The area we worked on is called Vinthill Withy Bed, not far from Flamborough Woods.  Whilst currently not open to the public the woods can be admired from a distance from walking trails and footpaths, which skirt past nearby.  

Before starting planning and careful calculations were needed to ensure we ordered enough trees, guards and stakes to complete the job.  With a team of three the task then began in earnest, starting with plotting out the rows of trees using bamboo canes as indicators at the start/end of each row, then using other canes to mark the distance between each sapling. The trees are planted in rows to ensure clear access in the future management and maintenance of them.  But the start of each row is staggered and not necessarily in a line so that the formation isn’t too regimented. 

Newly planted English Oak trees in tree guards
Newly planted English Oak trees in tree guards
Newly planted English Oak trees in tree guards

Once the saplings are in their holes, each one has to have a guard put round them to protect the young trees from wildlife nibbling at them but also from harsh weather conditions, and a stake which holds the guard in place.  The stakes and guards are all put in the same way round so that a glance the team can spot when doing checks if anything is a miss and requires attention.

After the planting has taken place, we will keep checking on the trees every few months to see how they are getting on with growing.  Then if any of the trees don’t take, die or get destroyed by animals, we pop a coloured marker tape around the top of the tree guard so that next time we are doing planting in other nearby areas we can replant as necessary without having to do too much searching. 

It will take up to 40 years for the trees to establish and bear acorns, but once they do it will provide much needed food for hungry animals and a flourishing woodland for years to come.

" Planting trees gives us the chance to restore historic woodlands that have been part of our estates for generations. The planting provides much needed habitats, food and protection for our wildlife as well as ensuring that they continue to be part of our landscape"
- Richard, Countryside Manager