Trees for free

This year I was going to try and back fill the tree field with more local tree stock.  The first phase was taking cuttings from the willow that seems to be growing more quickly for me.  I’m not sure what variety of willow it is but it has seeded in the tree field in the pond area, presumably from the trees that line the river bank.

set set willow by pond
Willow seeded in by pond

I had already transplanted some of the nicer seedlings that were growing in what should be the track area, but there are a lot of other seedlings coming up beside the pond and in amongst the other trees.  I’m not going to bother to move them.  Willow should take easily from cuttings, so I just selected some longish twigs, removing which should improve the shape of the trees, and cut them out.  I then removed the side branches and cut the main stem (and any thicker suitable side stems) into approx 10 inch lengths.

creating cuttings
Trimming willow cuttings

I didn’t count the number of cuttings I achieved, so I don’t know whether it was 100, 75 or 130 potential trees.  I have pushed them at fairly close spacing (6 ft?) in the damper areas where there seems to have been failure of the previous plantings.  The area by the pond which is very damp, lost a fair few birch and aspen – damaged by voles mainly I think.  That area has been infilled completely.  I have also made a start up by the southern border just under the hump.

area for replanting top
Area above conifers planted with willow cuttings

This area had birch and hazel, but is often quite damp due to springs coming out at the base of the hump.  It is also on the boundary where the prevailing wind comes from.  The hazel struggled to compete with the grass and we lost quite a few.  The ones left are starting to do better as the other trees are coming on.  The birch are some of the ones that have suffered bad die back and I think it’s that they don’t like the damp soil.  The willow however should do better.  I’ve used up all the cuttings I took from down by the pond area.  There’s still more room but some of the saplings transplanted some years there are now pretty big so I should be able to take more cuttings from these to finish off.

hopeful new willow
Newly inserted willow cutting

2 thoughts on “Trees for free

  1. good work, that is a lot of field to plant,

    which birch were they, I have downy birch, betula pubescens, I was going to buy silver birch but was told downy birch would do much better in damp/wet ground and they have, I had 5 hazels and they all died, I have one now (it came in a mixed pack) I have planted it where it gets some protection but it is still struggling,



    1. These were silver birch, all of the earlier plantings were – After these ones I planted some silver, some downy birch. I gather the silver birch may survive coppicing better than the downy birch. I suspect that I am finding the die back more in the silver birch so it may be related to the damp soil. I also had quite a few failures due to vole damage. Birch is one of the trees that in my experience does better with vole protection. None of them really did as well as I’d hoped. My hazels seem to suffer from die back as well, but are doing better as the other trees provide some shelter, so I think its to do with wood ripening rather than damp soil or wind per se. I think that the self set local trees are doing better, so it may be down to the seed provenance. However, the bought in ones appear to have come from massive nuts in comparison so if they survive there could be some benefit there!

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