About 3 weekends ago my daughter and I took a dozen of the oaks (various heights) which I’d grown from acorns in my garden, back to the wood and planted them. We chose spots where the canopy was pretty open, and we staked and protected them with tree guards. Or in my case, decapitated a healthy young oak with the tree guard I was using to protect it. The soil was wet, in some cases the planting holes had water at the bottom. Since then we’ve had lots more rain, so there’s been no danger of them drying out, though drowning was a possibility.
Yesterday my daughter and I returned to check up on the baby oaks. In general they seem happy. There was the one that had been attacked by caterpillars, the one whose leaves were turning brown and rotting inside the plastic tree guard, the one that had a pretty snail for company inside its guard, and the one that I’d decapitated … which has some very small new leaves shooting out. Of the 12 we’d planted, all 12 were still alive and pretty healthy. By planting at various stages of growth, and using a variety of tree guards, we are trying to work out what works best for us. Already we can see some differences.
Whilst we were traipsing around inspecting the trees, the wood was full of birdsong and the insistant tseeping of baby birds demanding to be fed. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were when I realised we were watching a marsh tit going in and out of its nest hole, in a tree just a few yards from where we stood. We watched a treecreeper rapidly collecting food, but couldn’t work out where its nest was. We heard a bullfinch calling, and we watched a pair of bluetits busily going in and out of one of the nest boxes we’d built for treecreepers – we’re just very happy it’s occupied.