Coppice and Orchard Update July 2012

I’ve not had too much to write about the Coppice and Orchard recently, as it’s just quietly growing, with little need for any intervention. For the last few days I’ve been spending a bit more time there, doing my annual ‘defence against wasps’ duties, and for the first time, the 2009/2010 trees are getting above my head.

If you’re reading about this for the first time, it might be worth checking out the Pictures, Design, and Plans page, to see the overall pattern of the tree planting.

The first picture is taken from the bottom of the Western block of coppice trees, and you can clearly see that the trees are at head height.

Coppice Trees

Coppice Trees

The actual picture is looking between the first and second blocks, at the gap between the two. To get a sense of scale, the box in the centre of the shot is a beehive, and the square tree guards are four feet tall. The trees partially obscuring the shot are part of the shelterbelt at the bottom of the schematic.

coppice trees

Shelterbelt

This picture looks towards the apiary from the South West corner of the Coppice.

coppice trees

Eastern Belt

 

The picture above was taken looking up between the two right (Eastern) blocks. The tree growth in this part of the coppice is not as rampant as the Western side, which benefits from it’s proximity to an old hedge, providing shelter, organic matter, and mycorrhizal fungi. The grass is also more dense on this side, which is inhibiting the growth of these trees a little.

The orchard trees are laden with fruit, and I ate my first plum of the season today. Many of the apple trees are vintage cider apples, and I’m hoping that we are going to have a cider circle in our village this year.

Jobs to do in the coppice area are putting in the final trees, mainly false acacia, and box elder, and selective scything of the grass in the open areas, to act as mulch, until the trees start to shade out the grass on their own.

It will be a few years before we are able to harvest reasonable quantities of wood, but some of the earlier plantings, now four years old, are starting to get to a decent size.

All of the best

 

Deano

4 thoughts on “Coppice and Orchard Update July 2012

  1. Sue

    Hi Deano,
    Thanks for the pics. It’s very interesting to see how it’s all progressing.

    Am I right in thinking you’ve got an orchard/coppice separate from the forest garden? I’m interested to know why you haven’t incorporated your forest garden into the existing orchard as I would’ve thought that a great starting place for creating a forest garden. Are you planning fruit trees in the forest garden as well?

    Regards
    Sue

    Reply
    1. Deano Post author

      Hi Sue
      Absolutely right. The reason fo rthe separation is historical, not designed. We used to breed an race greyhounds, so the right hand field was protected with rabbit mesh. When we kept sheep, we planted a conventional orchard, away from the sheep. By the time that I was formulating my design, the left field, now the coppice and orchard, was already home to a healthy rabbit population, so I decided to concentrate the ground cover/forest garden planting in the right hand field.Sadly, we now have some rabbits that have gotten a foothold in the forest garden.This will give me problems, physical, and ethical.
      If I was starting from scratch, I would put the timber trees at the top (North end), then the coppice trees, and then the forest garden, in bands, working towards the house. This would be a better example of zoning, and of integration, rather than segragation.
      One benefit of the current layout, is that it gives me a good way of showing two different elements, and of explaining the different priorities of the two spaces, but it isn’t how I would do it if I was starting from scratch.
      Hope that explains it.

      Deano

      Reply
  2. Sue

    Ah, rabbits! I was wondering whether they might become a problem for us. There are no signs of rabbits in our field at the moment, but I bet the minute we start planting juicy plants and tempting saplings they’ll be there…

    I was thinking about rabbit-proofing the stock-proof fence but are you saying that rabbits have got through into your forest garden in spite of rabbit mesh? If so, that would be a problem for me too. I have a ‘live and let live’ philosophy and would not want to get into the realms of eradication. So, prevention it has to be.

    Sue

    Reply
    1. Deano Post author

      Hi Sue
      My mesh is 11 years old, and this is th first time that we have had more than the ocasional tiny rabbit get through. They can get through the gaps between gates and posts, and under gates, if the gap gets too big. I have even seen them run up the mesh, and get through the stock fencing. If a couple of links get damaged, they seem to be able to find the hole. I startled one in the veg patch this spring, an watched it run through a fence. When I looked, a single strand had broken, and it had found the gap, and exploited it. If you do a really good job, you should be OK, but don’t leave it.
      All of the best

      Deano

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *