Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tree Planting, Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 27th February and 2nd March 2014

Two tree planting sessions were held, somewhat unusually for the Abingdon Green Gym, on a Thursday and the following Sunday, along the Ock Valley Walk.  This was a community tree-planting activity, forming part of DEFRA's 'Big Tree Plant' along with the Conservation Volunteers.

Six of us met for Thursday's session by the bridge over the weir at the town end of the walk and set about transporting the trees along with a variety of additional paraphernalia, necessary to our operations.  There was a lot to carry, but fortunately Eleanor had brought her wheelbarrow along and we were kindly assisted by a passing dog-walker!

Before any trees could be planted, suitable locations were selected around the woodchip path area. A number of holes were then dug and a series of stakes hammered-in.  Each stake was marked-up with the type of tree to be planted at each.  We had been provided with around sixty saplings, with quite a variety of species - guelder-rose, hawthorn, bird cherry, rowan, aspen, alder, silver birch, white willow and crack willow.  The plan was to plant the smaller, shrub-like species around the path edges with the others that are anticipated to grow rather taller to be positioned further in towards the centre of the area.

During the first session, the majority of the holes were dug, and the stakes sunk and marked.  Around twenty trees were then planted.  The planting process involving putting the sapling in the hole close to the stake, filling with soil, putting a tree-guard around it, attaching the guard to the stake, and finally putting a tree mat over the ground, centered on the stake and pinned-out around the corners.  

For the second session on the Sunday, seven of us met at the bridge.  We had left many of our materials and the trees themselves, concealed amongst the undergrowth on the plantation, so there was less to transport on this occasion.  We picked up where we had left off, but began by dispatching all the saplings to their pre-determined positions and then beginning the planting in earnest.

It became apparent that there was a slight discrepancy between the trees we had and our expected inventory, but it was only a minor job to substitute some of the species depending on what was available.  More of a concern was our lack of pegs for holding the tree mats in place.  Not to worry, Eleanor had an additional supply at home and fortunately her husband, Arthur, was on hand to bring over the re-supply so that we could get the job finished.  Many thanks to him!

On both sessions, refreshments were taken and excellent cake was supplied by Eleanor, a great reason to turn up for the tree-planting in itself!

Kevin with loaded wheelbarrow

Trees, personnel and planting paraphernalia

Planting begins!

A variety of saplings

Lauren gets stuck in

Planting frenzy on the Sunday

Petra lays a tree mat

Ursula and Lauren inspect Chris Thomas's memorial tree

Andrew distributes the saplings via wheelbarrow

Refreshment time

A section of planting complete!

A tree about to be planted

A folded tree mat and pegs

Andrew prepares to plant

Dieuwke and Kate finish-up

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