Cathy's Blog - TREES, TREES, TREES!

This Autumn is proving to be longer, warmer and less wet than we ‘usually’ have, and although we’ve had a couple of frosts, we haven’t gone into our next season yet. In fact, just last weekend I was basking in lovely sunshine – it felt very indulgent! Why so indulgent? Because we should be huddling around in thick jumpers or coats, dodging rain or scraping ice from car windows, and doing our usual moaning about how short the days are getting! BTW it is less than four weeks to the shortest day, when we get under eight hours of daylight. Sigh.

The amazing coloured leaves around us should by rights have gone and the trees become bare. The lack of rain is causing some concern to farmers and gardeners – plants are still growing at their ‘summer’ rate (my lawn needs cutting again!) and the growing season is extended, but without the water to support them.

This longer Autumn is now delaying our tree planting season, in both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Generally, the planting season in the UK is from mid-November to late March. This is when the tree roots are dormant and can cope better with being moved.

Volunteers started preparing sites at our various tree nursey projects in the Dedham Vale and in Suffolk Coast & Heath’s, but we can’t get planting yet, as stock isn’t ready to come from places like the Woodland Trust. At Holbrook Academy, where the Duke of Edinburgh students are leading the project, and at Hollesley, the new tree nurseries are ready to go. There are over 30 cuttings ready to be added to the native black poplar nursery in the Stour Valley, and a new nursery is prepared near Stoke by Nayland. But we are still waiting.

John Clare (1793-1864) may have written “so dull and dark are the November days…” but I prefer Robert Louis Stevenson’s (1850-1894) “Sing a song of seasons! Something bright in all! Flowers in the summer, Fires in the fall!”. So, enjoy the AONBs in all weathers and all seasons, and if you are out and about this weekend, just enjoy the bonus of great sun rises without getting up early.

First published in the EADT 25/11/17

By Cathy Smith on November 29th, 2017

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