Over the weekend we helped my parents plant some deciduous trees in one of the fields adjacent to the existing conifer plantation that is being felled. This deciduous wood will add to trees planted in 2008 and 2010. Both these plantation contain mainly ash trees, though there are a small number of oak, cherry, rowan, birch and chestnut.
Recently a new fungal disease affecting ash and has been spreading rapidly though Europe. Ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea) was first recorded in Ireland in 2012. So far our local trees appear to be okay but once again the drawback in planting monocultures of trees becomes obvious.
Over the winter we have been managing the trees closet the house. This involve cutting out lower branches and where possible having just one leader stem.
With the threat of ash dieback the Forestry Service are grant aiding more oak woodlands and that is what we planted over the weekend. The majority of the trees planted were pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), but also sessile oak (Quercus petraea), rowan, birch and Scots pine.
A digger effectively creates “mole hills” of soil which are then planted with tree whips. The rain sodden soil meant it was pretty grubby work, though my eldest didn’t seem to mind.
It will be interesting to see how the oak fair. Some of the ash trees planted in 2010 have done well though many of those planted in 2008 are still smaller than the later planted trees.