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Our work harvesting larch in Lynches Wood

A track winding through a woodland of beech and larch trees in autumn colours at Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire
Larch trees that were planted in Lynches Wood, over half a century ago, became an issue that needed to be tackled. | © National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Find out how and why we have had to tackle the issue of larch trees in Lynches Wood which were planted over half a century ago. The reasons for felling many of them include the prevention of a contagious tree disease and also too little light reaching the woodland floor due to trees growing too close together.

Larch harvest

Planted by the National Trust over 50 years ago as a crop to feed the timber industry, the European larch trees in Lynches Wood were reaching maturity in 2018 and ready to be harvested.

Specialist contractors felled many of the larch trees. The works were all part of the management of the woods and completed the cycle of why the larch were originally planted.

Disease prevention

The larch harvest helps us to manage the spread of the deadly fungal disease, Phytophthora ramorum.

Large swathes of larch have been infected by the disease in the west of England. Larch trees are particularly susceptible but the disease can also be deadly to oak, sweet chestnut and beech.

The removal of the larch helps to stop the disease from spreading.

Golden larch (Pseudolarix ambilis) in October at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
Golden larch | © National Trust Images/Laurence Perry

‘The greater the diversity of trees in Lynches Wood the less prone it'll be to some of the nasty tree diseases that are afflicting many woodlands in the UK.’

- Martin Jones, Area Ranger

Tree thinning

The trees in Lynches Wood were growing too closely together. This wasn't good for their development. After careful planning, we've cut some down, leaving the ones that remain to mature properly.

Where the trees are too dense, too little light reaches the ground, leaving the wood dark and uninviting. Competition for light and resources makes the trees tall and spindly.

By removing some of the weaker, less healthy trees it gives those left the space to grow and allows light back into the wood, creating opportunities for plants like bluebells to grow.

Replanting with broadleaved

The removal of the mature larch also provides us with an opportunity to replant the wood with native broadleaved trees like oak and sweet chestnut.

The young trees will restore the character of Lynches Wood and create a much more natural age structure.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

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