Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Written by Admin and published on https://www.savatree.com/.
Trees play a significant role in our environment, and they also have many great benefits when we have them on our property. They provide shade and a cooler atmosphere during warmer months of the seasons. Like any other plant, we have to take proper care of them, so they don’t die from unwanted circumstance.
Importance and Value of Trees
Since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, they provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools. Today, their value continues to increase and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles.
Community & Social Value
Trees are an important part of every community. Our streets, parks, playgrounds and backyards are lined with trees that create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment. Trees increase our quality of life by bringing natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban settings. We gather under the cool shade they provide during outdoor activities with family and friends. Many neighborhoods are also the home of very old trees that serve as historic landmarks and a great source of town pride.
Using trees in cities to deflect the sunlight reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings.
Ecological & Environmental Value
Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.” Trees, shrubs and turf also filter air by removing dust and absorbing other pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. After trees intercept unhealthy particles, rain washes them to the ground.
Trees control climate by moderating the effects of the sun, rain and wind. Leaves absorb and filter the sun’s radiant energy, keeping things cool in summer. Trees also preserve warmth by providing a screen from harsh wind. In addition to influencing wind speed and direction, they shield us from the downfall of rain, sleet and hail. Trees also lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect by maintaining low levels of carbon dioxide.
Both above and below ground, trees are essential to the eco-systems in which they reside. Far reaching roots hold soil in place and fight erosion. Trees absorb and store rainwater which reduce runoff and sediment deposit after storms. This helps the ground water supply recharge, prevents the transport of chemicals into streams and prevents flooding. Fallen leaves make excellent compost that enriches soil.
Many animals, including elephants, koalas and giraffes eat leaves for nourishment. Flowers are eaten by monkeys, and nectar is a favorite of birds, bats and many insects. Animals also eat much of the same fruit that we enjoy This process helps disperse seeds over great distances. Of course, hundreds of living creatures call trees their home. Leaf-covered branches keep many animals, such as birds and squirrels, out of the reach of predators.
Personal & Spiritual Value
The main reason we like trees is because they are both beautiful and majestic. No two are alike. Different species display a seemingly endless variety of shapes, forms, textures and vibrant colors. Even individual trees vary their appearance throughout the course of the year as the seasons change. The strength, long lifespan and regal stature of trees give them a monument-like quality. Most of us react to the presence of trees with a pleasant, relaxed, comfortable feeling. In fact, many people plant trees as living memorials of life-changing events.
Trees help record the history of your family as they grow and develop alongside you and your kids. We often make an emotional connection with trees we plant or become personally attached to the ones that we see every day. These strong bonds are evidenced by the hundreds of groups and organizations across the country that go to great lengths to protect and save particularly large or historic trees from the dangers of modern development. How many of your childhood memories include the trees in your backyard or old neighborhood? The sentimental value of a special tree is simply immeasurable.
Practical & Commercial Value
Trees have supported and sustained life throughout our existence. They have a wide variety of practical and commercial uses. Wood was the very first fuel, and is still used for cooking and heating by about half of the world’s population. Trees provide timber for building construction, furniture manufacture, tools, sporting equipment, and thousands of household items. Wood pulp is used to make paper.
We are all aware of apples, oranges and the countless other fruits and nuts provided by trees, as well as the tasty syrup of North American sugar maples. But did you know the bark of some trees can be made into cork and is a source of chemicals and medicines? Quinine and aspirin are both made from bark extracts. The inner bark of some trees contains latex, the main ingredient of rubber. How many more uses can you name?
Property Value & Economic Value
Individual trees and shrubs have value and contribute to savings, but it is the collective influence of a well-maintained landscape that makes a real economic impact and has the greatest effect on property value. Direct economic benefits come from a savings in energy costs. Cooling costs are reduced in a tree-shaded home, and heating costs lowered when a tree serves as a windbreak. According to the USDA Forest Service, “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating.”
Property values of homes with well-maintained landscapes are up to 20% higher than others. Here are some eye-opening facts and statistics regarding the effect of healthy trees and shrubs:
- Homes with “excellent” landscaping can expect a sale price 6-7% higher than equivalent houses with “good” landscaping. Improving “average” to “good” landscaping can result in a 4-5% increase.– Clemson University
- Landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100-200% at selling time. (Kitchen remodeling brings 75-125%, bathroom remodeling 20-120%)– Money Magazine
- A mature tree can have an appraised value between $1000 and $10,000.– Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers
- 99% of real estate appraisers concurred that landscaping enhances the sales appeal of real estate.– Trendnomics, National Gardening Association
- 98% of realtors believe that mature trees have a “strong or moderate impact” on the salability of homes listed for over $250,000 (83% believe the same for homes listed under $150,000).– American Forests, Arbor National Mortgage
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Written by Admin and published on https://mrtreeservices.com/.
If you were to make a list of things that could damage the trees on your property, what would be some of the chief culprits? If you’re like most people, you’d say wind, rain, critters and disease. But would you say ice?
Typically, people forget about ice when it comes to damaging trees because ice storms don’t happen that often– but when they do, you can bet some trees suffer in your neighborhood.
If and when cold rain falls and freezes as ice it will then stick to bark and branches even more easily than snow. Since ice is heavy, it can break small branches off a tree because they can’t bear the weight. When ice and wind mix, it’s even worse!
Does Ice Do Damage to Trees?
When people think about what can do damage to trees, heavy winds and rain may come to mind, or maybe even some sort of pest or disease, but not many people would think ice can do damage to their trees. The truth of the matter is, it can. In fact. ice-covered trees can be very dangerous.
While icicles are beautiful to look at, constant ice could be damaging to your trees. You get an increased amount of ice on your trees both when you have ice storms and when it snows and the temperature dips below freezing, causing snow to freeze. Ice will not only hurt a tree, but it can kill it and create problems in the surrounding area as well.
Before you examine your tree, you need to beware of a few safety concerns. First of all, if your tree is close to power lines, do not touch it. You never want to get involved if you’re talking about a possible interaction between electricity and water. You need the proper tools and expertise to deal with a tree in this kind of condition, which is why a certified arborist should be called to see if your tree can be trimmed back to remove a dangerous branch.
Additional, if there are broken branches that haven’t yet fallen, do not risk climbing the tree. While we understand you may be trying to alleviate the ice pressure from your trees, trees in this condition are unsafe, and you could end up falling and having a much bigger problem on your hands.
For lighter snow, this may seem silly, but it’s a good idea to go outside and brush even light amounts of snow off of your trees. This way, the snow won’t become ice, and you can prevent what may become an issue.
Sometimes, an ice-damaged tree is beyond repair and simply needs to be removed by a professional, but if the tree is small and the damage is minimal, there are some remedies for you to do yourself that can help bring your tree back to full strength and avoid the hassle of spending money.
Again, if there are safety concerns, spend the money just to ensure everything goes smoothly as you don’t want to risk injury. However, if the situation is safe, you can remove the broken limbs with pruning shears. Again, only perform this maneuver on smaller limbs as larger limbs can cause additional problems when felling.
It’s important to remember that broken limbs cannot be repaired, so they need to be removed. It’s best to cut them back to the next adjacent branch. Also remember to never leave a branch as a stub, because that encourages rot and decay. If you do this, the tree may ultimately die anyway, leaving all the work you did as a waste of time.
With that in mind, also be careful not to over-prune. You want to leave as many tree limbs as possible. Removing more limbs than you have to prevents the tree from being able to properly perform photosynthesis, which is necessary to sustain life.
Once pruned, the tree may look a little uneven, but don’t fret. After a few seasons, it should bounce back to it’s full, vibrant shape once again. However, if you have any concerns, contact your local arborist who will be able to provide additional direction and perform any needed trimming adjustments.
Now, we all want to save our trees in cases like this, but if the trunk is broken, it’s time for the tree to be removed. That’s when you have to call a professional to come and do work. Some trees have main leaders that extend all the way to the top of the tree, and when the trunk fails, the tree will fail too. That’s when you know it’s time to remove and replant.
If you do have to remove a tree, consider replacing it with a stronger species, such as crape myrtle, bald cypress, or live oak. If you have any questions on which tree makes sense for your environment, consider the conditions. If you simply replace the tree with the same one, then you could run into the issue once again.
Did you know there are steps you can take to protect your trees if an ice storm is in the forecast? Small multi-leader trees can be wrapped with carpet or another type of strong cloth. Once spring arrives, you must remove the wrapping so you do not inhibit any growth. You can also invest in tree cabling and bracing, which involves the installation of flexible steel cables in the trees to reduce the stress caused by high winds, heavy snow, or substantial foliage. This isn’t something you should do on your own, as a certified arborist would have to be called in to set this up in the proper manner.
Your best bet, if ice and heavy snow is an issue where you live, is to be smart with which species of trees you have.
If you inherited trees from a previous owner and they are not the most weather resistant, then you may need to prepare to replace them sooner rather than later. Or, as mentioned above, you can contact a certified arborist to protect against tree damage. This individual can perform all of the necessary pruning or wrap your tree to protect it from Mother Nature’s wrath.
Ultimately, do not try to do anything yourself if there’s a safety risk. Instead, contact the professionals who will be able to protect your trees before a storm or perform necessary steps after one.
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Written by Skip Davis and published on https://www.hunker.com/.
A lot of people assume pruning and trimming are interchangeable words when it comes to trees. Interestingly, though, they are two different terms with two different meanings. For instance, they have distinct applications and functions. Meanwhile, they require different equipment– and timetables, too.
What Is Difference Between Pruning & Trimming?
Pruning and trimming are two techniques homeowners perform when taking care of their gardens. Trimming usually applies to maintaining small shrubs or hedges, while horticulturists use pruning for trees and shrubs. Both horticulture terms are used interchangeably but utilize different types of equipment and have different times for implementation. The end result of trimming and pruning are healthy and aesthetically appealing trees, shrubs and hedges.
The idea behind pruning is to prevent loose or dead branches from harming other plants or people. Removing these branches allows the tree’s flowers and fruit to flourish. Pruning is not meant to stunt growth, but to stimulate the tree. Eliminating diseased or pest infested branches are other reasons gardeners prune their trees. Gardeners also prune if they want their tree to have a particular shape for aesthetic purposes. Two forms of pruning, pollarding and topiary, cause trees to take on unnatural forms. Pollarding is the practice of pruning annually to produce new shoots on an annual basis. Topiary is the art of shaping trees into an animal or geometric shape.
Trimming applies to tidying up a small shrub or hedge’s appearance by removing overgrown branches. While pruning focuses on safety and a tree’s health, gardeners usually trim shrubs and hedges for aesthetic purposes. However, excessive overgrowth is harmful since it reduces the amount of moisture and light a shrub receives, so gardeners should trim a shrub at least twice per year to prevent this from happening.
Two types of shears are available for pruning: hand shears and lopping shears. Hand shears are meant to be handled with one hand and are primarily used for removing small, easy to remove buds and leaves. Lopping shears have 1- to 2-foot long handles and are meant for cutting off thick branches. The lopping shear’s design allows gardeners to exert more force while cutting. If a branch is too thick for both shears, gardeners resort to saws for pruning. Both types of shears are viable options for trimming shrubs and hedges. A hedge trimmer is used for trimming a hedge’s branches. Electric and gas-powered hedge trimmers are available.
The required frequency for pruning or trimming varies among plant species. Spring flowering trees need pruning during late June, immediately following the trees’ blooming cycle. Winter and spring are appropriate pruning periods for summer flowering trees, says the University of Maryland’s Cooperative Extension program. The most appropriate periods for trimming hinges on a shrub or hedge’s appearance, rather than its health or flowering cycles. According to the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, gardeners should trim their hedges before excessive branch growth reaches 1 foot.
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Written by Admin and published on https://preservationtree.com/.
What is the foundation of a healthy tree? If you want a tree to have a healthy trunk with strong roots and branches, then the foundation for that is… regular tree pruning by a knowledgeable and experienced tree care provider. Big Foot Tree Service has plenty of tree experts who can prune the trees on your property so they’ll stay healthy and live a long time. All too often, people ignore their trees only to find that they’re unhealthy and even dying. “Preventative maintenance” can save tree owners a lot of money and headaches.
Soil: The Foundation of Healthy Trees
Soil health is the very foundation of keeping your trees and landscape healthy and flourishing. Many people apply a little synthetic fertilizer when first planting a new tree or shrub, and then never think to feed the plants (or soil) again. That is not the way to keep your landscape growing!
The soil in North Texas is not the most hospitable to begin with—alkaline, very heavy clay, with shallow topsoil. Drainage is slow and fungal diseases can run rampant when good microbes are out of balance. Many locations with new construction end up with soils that are very compacted from construction equipment, causing the soil to be void of microbes and valuable nutrients. Often contractors haul off the good soil, and leave your property with less than desirable soil. This leftover construction soil is restrictive for roots and does not foster a healthy root zone.
Urban environments are a far cry from the forests that trees evolved to live in. Instead of letting leaves decompose naturally and then add microbes slowly back to the soil, we bag them up and haul them off; depriving our soils of much needed organic matter that feeds beneficial microbes and releases nutrients.
Even with these less than desirable soil conditions, trees are crucial to a healthy urban environment. So what are you to do? Luckily, we have just the fix to keep your soil functioning properly and your trees and landscape thriving. Our SEASONS program applies a fall root zone injection of liquid compost with mycorrhizal fungi along with other healthy soil micro-organisms. This injection provides components for vigorous root growth. Organic amendments such as seaweed, fish and humates stimulate biological activity in the soil, thus mimicking the nutrient breakdown of a forest floor, and allowing nutrients to become available for uptake by your trees and landscape.
Along with the fall feeding, our SEASONS program also includes an Arborist inspection each year and a spring root-zone injection for your continued soil health.
We believe in the organic approach so we can best support a healthy environment. Bio-fertilization is an important step in keeping the soil food web functioning properly. Since most homeowners remove an important part of the web (fallen leaves), the entire microbial process slows down or stops. Synthetic products may briefly help correct problems with your landscape, but they deplete and damage the naturally occurring processes happening in the soil; thus leaving you in a constantly recurring pattern of having to apply chemicals.
Take care of your soil correctly and in turn, your soil will give to your trees and surrounding landscape.
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Written by Jennifer Noonan and published on https://www.bobvila.com/.
If there’s one class of insect that bothers gardeners more than any other, it has to be aphids. These tiny pests can be found worldwide and they are to plants what mosquitoes are to people – small but destructive vampires. Aphids feed on the sap of plants, which is damaging enough on its own, but to get to the sap they chew up the leaves with their efficient jaws. They also breed rapidly and won’t stop feeding until they kill the plant, at which point they migrate to the next plant and the cycle starts all over again. To a biologist aphids are actually fascinating – some species of ants farm them, for example – but to gardeners they’re a serious pest.
How To: Get Rid of Aphids
Save a shriveling garden from aphid infestation by following these tips for removal.
Are your garden plants stunted, shriveled, yellowing, or curling at the leaves, despite your best efforts to keep them alive? Check the undersides of the leaves, and you may find the culprit: large groups of aphids and/or the sticky residue they leave behind after feeding. (Or, on plants with tightly-packed leaves like those of day lilies, aphids may take root at the base of the plant instead.) These quarter-inch-long garden pests have soft pear-shaped bodies in various shades of white, black, yellow, green, brown, or red. The bane of gardeners everywhere, they feed on the plant’s sap and literally suck the life out of leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and roots.
Aphids reproduce so quickly—we’re talking several generations created in a single season—that by the time you notice the insects on your plants, you’re likely in the midst of a full-blown infestation. Thankfully, though, homeowners can often combat the pests before major damage occurs. Here’s how to get rid of aphids and keep them from returning to wreck your plants in the future.
STEP 1: Removal
If you discover aphids your garden, follow one of these three methods to get rid of them.
Hose them down.
If you spot a few aphids on your plants, the minor infestation can be successfully banished with a strong stream of water from the hose. Run water all over the plant, making sure to target the underside of each leaf. Repeat this process every few days until you’ve successfully eliminated all aphids, which could take up to two weeks.
Spray leaves with DIY insecticidal soap.
Waging war with larger numbers of aphids? Make a homemade insecticidal soap, a low-toxicity bug control solution that will desiccate the soft bodies and kill the aphids without doing harm to your plants. Simply mix a few teaspoons of liquid dish soap with one quart of water, then spray or wipe the solution onto the leaves, stems, and buds of the plant. (Don’t forget: These bugs like to hide beneath leaves, so take care to thoroughly coat the underside of the leaves, too.) Repeat the process every two or three days for the next few weeks, until you no longer notice aphids on the plant.
Use a systemic pesticide.
If your aphid infestation is substantial and not swayed by insecticidal soap, you may need to kill them with a systemic pesticide. Consider using a product containing Imidacloprid, which will kill aphids when ingested but won’t harm pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies (view example Imidacloprid-containing insecticide on Amazon). Mix and apply according to the manufacturer’s directions.
STEP 2: Prevention
After eradicating aphids from your garden, take measures to prevent the pests from returning. Here are three ways to deter aphids from your plants.
Introduce beneficial bugs.
Several species of bugs—like lady beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps—happily munch on aphids. If you provide a habitat of flowering ground covers (especially varieties likecosmos and stonecrop that supply nectar throughout the growing season), you’ll draw them to the garden and successfully keep the aphid population in check. Homeowners can also purchase these natural predators via mail-order. If you introduce beneficial bugs to your garden, do not use a broad-spectrum pesticide—it will kill them, too!
Apply dormant oil.
If aphids have settled on your fruit trees, apply dormant oil (a commercial oil that controls pests during the off-season) in mid- to late-winter to kill any eggs that are overwintering (view dormant oil on Amazon). Mix the dormant oil with water in a garden sprayer, according to the directions on the packaging, and apply to the leaves, stems, branches, and trunk of the tree. Reapply per the manufacturer’s directions.
Choose neighboring plants strategically.
Oregano, chive, sage, garlic, leeks, onions, and other plants with strong scents can deter aphids. Plant these in the areas of your garden where aphids have been a problem. In addition, you can grow plants that attract aphids, like calendula and nasturtium, on the opposite side of your property; they may draw aphids away from the affected area. Companion planting is a long-term prevention measure, but it could help your aphid population diminish significantly over several seasons.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Written by Admin and published on https://www.conservationhandbooks.com/.
For local authorities needing to remove a tree from a public space or for homes suffering from structural damage, tree felling may be the most suitable remedial action.
Essentially, tree felling is the action of cutting down a tree to prevent the spread of disease and improve safety in the area. If not carried out correctly, tree felling can be very dangerous – as such, this type of work must be carried out by a tree care specialist who will plan the task meticulously, taking into account any potential hazards or risks.
So, why do trees sometimes need to be felled?
Why fell trees?
Tree felling is a positive management technique which increases the health and diversity of trees and their associated wildlife within woods. It should be carried out as part of a management plan based on scientific research of the effects caused, and should be appropriate to the species concerned.
Felling trees in the name of conservation is often misunderstood. Not surprising when we consider that an estimated 19 million trees were blown down in the storms of 1987 and 1989 and more than 30 million trees have been lost to Dutch Elm disease. But felling is an essential part of woodland ecology and management. Non-indigenous trees and shrubs, for example, may need to be removed to retain the character of a woodland.
How woodland develops
In most of the UK, if all agriculture and land management ceased and nature was allowed to take over, woodland would be the end result. It is the UK’s ‘climax’ vegetation, able to renew itself indefinitely with saplings springing up into the spaces left by the death of large mature trees.
The woodland would grow, mature and change over hundreds and thousands of years reacting to climate and soil conditions. The forest canopy would be dominated by associations of relatively few large species such as oak, ash, beech, and lime (and probably sycamore). However, there would be a great diversity of flora and fauna existing within the woodland ecosystem particularly in glades and woodland edges, areas of wetland, permanent grassland and thickets.
Wildwood once covered most of Britain but has been modified and managed by humans since the first clearances for settlement and agriculture by Mesolithic and Neolithic man some 6,000 years ago.
For at least 2,000 years, until this century, woodlands and their products have formed a vital part of the local society and economy.
Woodland now covers 13% of the UK’s land surface, compared to a 37% average for EU countries. However, it is estimated that only 552,000ha in the UK is ancient woodland sites (around 2.3% of land area) and of this 223,000ha is planted with non-native species (referred to as planted ancient woodland sites (PAWS)) – The State of the UK’s Forests, Woods and Trees, Woodland Trust. More than a quarter of the tree cover is Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), introduced from the west coast of North America.
Types of woodland
Woodlands can cover less than 10 hectares or more than 350,000 hectares. Most are on farmland where the landowner may not realise its commercial and conservation value. Woods have been neglected because they are no longer needed.
Primary or ancient woodland
An area of land that has been under uninterrupted woodland cover, without dramatic change to the constituent tree types. Mainly woods which have been managed by coppicing.
An area of land which has been cleared at some stage but allowed to regenerate naturally. New secondary woodland lacks a full range of native species. Old secondary woodland can have almost as diverse a range of species as ancient woodland but lacks ‘indicator’ tree and plant species such as wild service tree, small-leaved lime, woodland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) and oxlip which cannot colonise readily into new areas.
The modern practice of forestry has resulted in many conifer plantations usually containing single, or a very limited number of, species of the same age. All coniferous species in the UK, apart from Scots pine, yew and juniper have been introduced. However, some beech, oak and chestnut plantations from the 18th century still thrive.
Parkland and urban trees
These are sometimes the remnants of original woodland cover, existing as single mature trees and perhaps showing signs of management such as pollarding. Otherwise they tend to be new plantings, often of exotic species.
The traditional woodland management system of coppicing creates a structure which varies from open glade through brambles and scrub on newly exposed areas, dense thickets of competing young saplings growing around fallen tree trunks, closed shady canopies of mature forest to ancient stag-headed trees. Woods are divided into compartments and trees and shrubs are cut on a rotation based on the number of years it takes for the ‘underwood’ to reach its desired size. This gives rise to an irregular patchwork of panels of trees of different ages, offering wildlife a wide range of habitats.
Felling trees in this way does not kill a wood. Bradfield Woods in Suffolk, first recorded in 1252, though probably old even then, has been cut down at least 70 times in its history of coppice management.
In direct contrast, most plantation forestry has no variety of structure or species. It casts dense shade to suppress ground vegetation and is often clear-felled when mature. Exotic species do not regenerate and the area has to be planted again. Conifers that have been planted within old coppiced woods may have to be felled to return the wood to traditional management.
Conifer woodland structure
Thinning is the removal of a proportion of trees in a wood. It is usually associated with commercial forestry – providing an intermediate crop and leaving more growing space for the remaining trees. Most planted forests begin with 1,000 to 2,500 trees per hectare but end up with 70 to 350.
Thinning in secondary woodlands is needed where there is little age range among the trees. Such woods often spring from colonisation of bare ground, tending to form a high dense canopy of close growing trees. Thinning will allow light in to help shrub and ground flora growth and allow the best trees to spread and mature.
Rides and glades
Only 2% of woodland in the UK is managed as coppice, so often the only open places within woods are rides and glades. They attract a completely different flora and fauna from the rest of the wood. Species are attracted by the open sunny conditions and interface or ‘edge’ between grassland and woodland.
The grassland may be a relict population of unimproved grassland – 95% of which has been lost from the surrounding countryside since the Second World War.
Butterflies are sun-loving insects and the majority breed only in very open rides and glades which provide warm and sunny microclimates. Most butterfly larvae feed on the low-growing herbs of the open ride, whilst many more moths breed on the tree and shrub species – particularly sallow and aspen – of the shrubby margins.
Shrubby margins can be attractive to several species of breeding migrant birds such as garden and willow warblers and nightingale. Low tangled vegetation is a favourite nest site of the chiffchaff. Wrens will breed if heaps of brushwood are left after cutting. Sparrowhawks will hunt up and down the rides and green woodpeckers may be attracted to feed on ants.
Rabbits are commonly found deep inside woodlands and may be dependent on grassy rides and glades as feeding sites. Bats also use rides for hunting attracted by the rich insect life.
The term ‘indigenous’ refers to species that are of natural origin. Introduced, exotic, or non-indigenous trees have been brought to this country by man.
As the ice from the last glaciation retreated, about 13,000 years ago, trees moved northwards. The first to colonise our tundra were pioneering species such as birch, aspen and willow. These were followed by pine and hazel, alder and oak, lime and elm, then holly, ash, beech, hornbeam and maple. The later arrivals were either species from warmer climates or poor colonisers.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, exotic trees, which were ‘discovered’ in the new world, were planted in many large ornamental gardens. In the 19th century hardy, fast growing species, mainly conifers, began to be planted for economic forestry.
Felling and uprooting of non-indigenous tree and shrub species in semi-natural woodlands is often necessary to retain the woodland’s character. These species generally have the habit of being able to spread quickly, dominating the understorey and ground vegetation – suppressing a more diverse native flora and regenerating seedlings.
The rhododendron family is native to central Asia and has been planted in this country both for the beauty of its blossom and its value as game cover. Although rhododendron cannot tolerate lime-rich soils it seems to thrive everywhere else. The plant develops an ever-spreading thicket of tough evergreen leaves, smothering all other growth so that no field or ground layer of vegetation can survive.
This shrub was planted for similar reasons to the rhododendron and has similar effects. The leaves decay slowly to the detriment of soil humus.
Snowberry was planted for game cover. Although birds and insects do feed on the small white berries, the plant can spread quickly and shut out a more diverse flora.
Sycamore grows in shade, is little affected by pollution and disperses great quantities of fertile seed annually. It can be a self-sown constituent of many secondary woods and encroach ancient woodlands when they are disturbed or opened up. Indigenous plant diversity can be reduced as sycamore becomes the dominant species. It often has to be clear felled to eradicate it from sensitive sites.
However, sycamore is a valuable hardwood timber tree and is often specified in new lowland plantings. It only supports a small diversity of insect life but can be more important to feeding birds than beech, ash and hazel because of its high biomass. It will grow in exposed, upland sites where other hardwoods won’t survive.
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