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In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

On Wednesday evening Rothbury Tree Wardens went to the verge along from Beggar's Rigg to replace the tree guards.

We have a rota of folk going each week to check on these saplings and to clear the weeds/grass from around their base.

Here we are, creating paths, and planting saplings, in March 2022

When we first planted these saplings we made three paths along the verge, and planted the saplings. On the top and middle paths we created, the bracken has taken over! By the end of July it looks like this:

Tree wardens are strimming back as much as we can, around the saplings, and trying to maintain the paths as best we can.

Two interesting things I noticed on Wednesday evening.

The first is this.

Rabbits appear to have made burrow holes by most of the saplings. I am sure these holes were not here when we planted. I am fascinated by this, and wonder if they do it as some kind of navigation? I mean, they can easily see, from the sapling, where an entrance is? Might this be possible?

This sapling died, but the pole shows where it was in relation to the burrow hole.

This sapling is precarious in this burrow.

The other thing I want to tell you about is the saplings inside the little guards. Most of the saplings were sticking their heads out of the guards. So we made a collective decision to replace these small guards with larger bamboo stakes and taller guards. This is what we were doing on Wednesday night. Alan Winlow very kindly donated the guards and canes.

When taking the small guards off, however, most of the trees had shed the leaves that were inside the guards, and the healthy growth was what was sticking out of the top.

This sapling had folded all its top growth up into itself, here I am pulling it out so you can see.

So, it has made me start to wonder if, in this instance, tree guards are necessary/healthy.

I wonder if we should do without, and take a chance?

It is clear that no deer protection is needed, but would the rabbits do too much damage? Who knows?

When they are poking out of the new, tall, guards, I think we should consider leaving them to fend for themselves.

What do you think?


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