Tuesday 1 December 2015

The Wildwood planting season begins

With winter rapidly approaching, it can only mean one thing at Wildwood..... the beginning of planting season.
We found out during the summer months what species we would have available for planting. This all depends on the variety and quantity of seeds and cuttings that have been collected by volunteers and successfully grown on by Alba trees, ready for planting this winter. We were also expecting a delivery of Aspen from Cheviot trees and we always have a number of volunteers who grow small numbers of trees - we never know exactly what or how many but these make a welcome addition to our overall species mix and total.

One of our volunteer 'tree growers' dropping off a lovely mix of mostly Elm and Juniper
We arranged for delivery a few Tuesdays ago and with various lorries and cars all arriving within an hour of each other, the process ran rather smoothly!
We managed to offload everything into the car park before starting the sorting process. Although as seasoned volunteer and expert tree planter Les said 'it's always intimidating when the trees arrive'. Very true words - there seemed to be so many of them!!
The trees all sorted into their groups in the tree pen
Once we know stock availability, we put together a site planting plan based on species suitability and areas we identify as needing more trees. This is always subject to change but gives us a good idea beforehand of what trees need to go where and helps to arrange drop offs.
So what's the running total? Well this winter we have approximately 6,477 trees, of which around 5,472 we'll try and plant with our volunteers. The remainder is for our annual spring High Camp. Later in the winter/early spring we are expecting another delivery with even more trees but we'll cross that bridge when we're ready too (that's a whole other blog post!).
We're planting in a range of places across the valley including (ref. map) some high spots at the back and in Rispie Lairs, but also low down as well. And this year we have a nice mix including;
Downy willow Salix lapponum (high planting)
Tea leaved willow Salix phylicifolia (high planting)
Dark leaved willow Salix myrsinifolia (high planting)
Juniper Juniperus communis (high planting)
Aspen Populus tremula (mixture of high and low planting)
Downy birch Betula pubescens (low planting)
Wych elm Ulmus glabra (low planting)
And how have things gone to date? Well the season started off well with sun, sun and more sun! Volunteers were spotted sunbathing during breaks and whilst the planting ground was tough going, the weather was fantastic!
A day in the life of a Carrifran tree planter! Actually it's more like...
Well that was never going to last.....
this. The rain came....
and came until......
we had to abandon ship as the burn was rising fast and we had to cross it!
The team on another wet day having a break before the rains come in
Since then we've had 3 wet Tuesdays in a row culminating in today where we've had to cancel due to bad conditions. But the volunteers have put in a superb effort so far with 1,925 trees already in the ground. The big question now is when will the snow come.... Watch this space
Site Officer

P.S. Many thanks to Robin Sloan and Philip Ashmole for sharing pictures


  1. Has anyone thought about inserting a link between the Carrifran website pages (where nothing ever happens) and this blog (where lots of things happen)?

  2. Hi Duncan. Thanks for your comment. A good idea and we will certainly pass that on to the administrator of the Carrifran website. BFT