Tuesday, 5 November 2013

It's Tree Time

Hedge planting: Sunday 10 November, 2pm, Jubilee Wood.

November heralds the planting season for trees. It’s the perfect time to plant them; when they’re dormant, they will establish more successfully than during their active growing phase in the summer.

If you go down to the Jubilee Wood today, you’ll see 100 apple trees that weren’t there last week, planted as part of the Growing Together project.

Now, the Woodland Trust has given Transition Town Whitehead 420 little saplings of half a dozen different species suitable for making up a hedge – hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, silver birch, rowan and oak. We will use these to fill in a few of the gaps in the hedgerows of Jubilee Wood.

Hedges are vital elements in creating the rich and varied habitat we want to see in the Jubilee Wood. They provide food and shelter for many species of birds, like bullfinches and linnets, small mammals and butterflies.

Thick hedges with wide bases providing plenty of cover are best, with a mix of species that flower at different times to offer nectar over a longer period and support more insects.

The Jubilee hedgerows have been neglected for many years but now we have an opportunity to bring them back to vibrant life. This first – and extremely modest – intervention will start the ball rolling.

The next phase will be to find a few people who would be interested in learning the traditional art of hedge-laying. This valuable skill fosters the rejuvenation of existing hedgerows, improving their structure and bringing them under control. Carrickfergus Council will provide funding, under its Hedgerow Hopes scheme, for a few of us to undertake the necessary training.

But, for now, we need a team of volunteers to join us next Sunday afternoon, 10 November, at 2pm in the Jubilee Wood. The hedge we’ll be fixing is at the side of the path, between Commonwealth Avenue and the pond. Bring a spade if you can.

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