by Trevor Trevor
I thought you might be interested in some feedback from an owner’s perspective following your Field Visit in June 2005. Your comments and suggestions were helpful and encouraging, and could be broken down as follows:
- Cut down and kill all the laurels
- Create more open spaces to encourage natural regeneration
- Kill as many grey squirrels as possible.
The first thing was to deal with the laurel areas, which were widespread, and very old, with some of the laurel stems being over six inches diameter. These were cut at ground level and the stumps sprayed with Glyphosate:Water in a 20% solution. To give you an idea of the area we dealt with, we used just over 50 gallons of Glyphosate! Some of the laurels were so large and on such a steep bank that they have been left to rot where they fell. The smaller ones were stacked to give at least some clear ground to allow us to get about and deal with any new or regrowth of the laurel, and to allow any acorns at least a chance of growing. There appears to be some fresh growth (from seed ?) of laurel, but this is very small and should be easy to see and kill this winter. I have to say that it was extremely hard work!
Felling Mature Oak
Having got bored with spending months cutting down laurels with nothing financial to show for it, I thought I would fell some Oak as a thinning and, following my usual practice, looked for the worst trees. I couldn’t find any suitable in the area your members wanted me to thin, but found some further up the wood, and marked nine. Oak trees (especially 150 year old Oak trees) always seem small until they are on the ground. Then you find that they are larger than you thought, but also they are not as straight. There were more gateposts than intended, but I did cut a number of beams, including a 17 feet by 16 inch beam out of one tree, and I now have a fair amount of Oak drying in a shed. No doubt it will come in useful some time.
The squirrels had a reprieve for this year, but it is only temporary. Having learned a little about poisoning them I will now have to wait until next year. I have to say that there does not seem to have been so much damage this year as in the past. The national policy of “containment” around the red squirrel areas will inevitably fail, and there will be a great deal of hand wringing. The only answer is a massive effort to exterminate grey squirrels, but regrettably many people will not face up to this. They seem happy to suggest doing away with non-native trees, but unwilling to do the same to non-native animals.
All in all I found your visit here most helpful, and it gave me a push to get on with something which I had been putting off.