On the edge of Kingston upon Hull, a site was designated for planting over 4000 native trees and shrubs during the 2021/22 planting season.
Humber Forest, Hull City Council, and delivery partner The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) worked together to design and plant the 1.01 hectare site, to create the beginnings of a community woodland and increase overall woodland canopy cover in Hull.
The Humber Forest and partners pride themselves on only planting the right tree in the right place. They work hard to make sure that the existing ecological and historic environments, and currentcommunity use are not adversely affected by woodland creation. Site checks and regulation processes need to be completed before any planting takes place. This is aided by a number of partners and experts, including The Forestry Commission (the regulatory authority for forestry in England), local authorities, and expertise from local ecologists and archaeologists.
Falkland Road Archaeological Report indicated some historical features present. Possible Medieval ridge and furrow ploughing remains were on site, so a site survey was needed. Humber Forest engaged the services of a local archaeologist who concluded that the ridge and furrow had been degraded, so planting could go ahead.
The site also needed to go through regulation process as its size meant it needed to be added to the Forestry Commission’s Public Consultation Register. Proposed sites are placed on the register for 28 days to let members of the public examine the plans and respond with any concerns. Forestry Commission staff also conduct site visits and add any concerns or questions.
In this case, The Forestry Commission highlighted an ecological issue to be mindful of; a reed bed had developed on the site. Trees cannot be planted in or near valuable reed beds as they are also a priority habitat. The site had been extensively surveyed by Hull City Council ecologists over many years, and the records were shared with the Forestry Commission.nFor added mitigation, site designs were modified, with a buffer zone added to protect the reed bed once the trees were fully grown.
As one of the largest planting projects in Hull this year, it needed lots of time and people power. Three days were scheduled for the planting but only two were needed thanks to good weather and hard work.
Planting kicked off on Monday 6th of March, with TCV staff, over 7 regular TCV volunteers, and 11 volunteers from Rewilding Youth.
To avoid plastic pollution, no tree guards were used, and the planting density was raised. Cell-grown, (or plug plants) were used to help get the trees off to a good start, as the roots are protected within the ball of soil. Rough grasses act as a shelter for the trees until they get a firm root system. Species such as Oak, Hornbeam, Field maple, Wild cherry, Goat willow, Common Alder and Scots pine were planted at random within the planting areas.
On Tuesday, TCV were joined by 35 students from Hull University, who got stuck in and finished the planting.
Kayley (the Tree and Woodland Creation Officer at TCV) gave introductions and a tree planting demonstration, and spoke about the species mixture on site, so the students had all the information they needed to fill out their field notebooks.
Task leaders then ‘walked out’ the trees, placing them atthe correct spacing and mix of species, so the volunteers could follow and plant them with spades using the T cut method. This works great with small trees and plug plants as it is quick and easy, with minimal soil disturbance.
We spoke to the students who want to enter the ecology/conservation sector; d most effective way possible, at no cost.
“I love getting out and doing something practical to make a difference in our local area,’ said James (Hull University Biology Student).
Fiona (Hull University Zoology Student) said: ‘It will be nice to come back in a few years to see what it looks like.”
By the end of the second day, 4484 trees and shrubs were planted by over 53 volunteers, and 4 TCV staff
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