I’ve been looking into what native trees need to be planted in my area for a number of reasons. First, we need to replant a couple of trees where we had to fell two white poplars earlier this year. If we are using them as firewood we need to replace them with something to have carbon-neutral fires! Second, there is interest in tree-planting as an option for fund-raising for and enhancing our new village hall. Thirdly, there are all sorts of initiatives around for planting native trees for next year to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. And mine for that matter.
Selecting trees to replace our poplars is an interesting task. Spurred on by an article in the Sunday Telegraph last week (I really must change my paper, I no longer need to read what the ‘opposition’ think as I think it’s starting to influence me in the wrong direction), I looked up the National Vegetation Classification for Trees. This is a scientifically based classification of UK habitats, and for a non-botanist it’s a bit of a struggle, but I am familiar with the procedures used, so I have been persevering. I seem to have classified our woodland entirely wrongly according to the maps, but will go back to it and have another go. But in broad terms it looks likely that our group of introduced poplars should be in harmony with certain willows and ash trees, as well as alder, on their wet ground. The undergrowth looks to be in harmony with this mix. As the traditional poems that give people a guide to the best trees for logs (see this entry) seem to vote in favour of ash, that’s what I’ll be recommending we replant. Hawthorn, beech and fruit trees would be good but would not want to grow in the wet area we have. But we seem to be doing quite well as our felled poplars are putting on a nice regrowth, so we have in fact started our own poplar coppice.
Selecting appropriate trees for the surrounding the village hall will be fun as it’s a different type of land there, very gravelly and well-drained. There is a lovely set of hedges round the land with blackthorn (sloe), hawthorn etc. I’d like to see things like spindle and crab apple trees planted as they would be more in keeping with the general scale of the development than large trees, although we have some excellent mature oaks in the hedgerows that we need to protect. I’d quite like to plant a spindle by my garage but I’m a little afraid of closing in my garden with too much shade.
And it’s the Woodland Trust that’s busy planting Diamond Woods.