We have been watching pairs of blue tits house hunting in our oak trees since February and we predicted an early nesting season for the species. But this period of cold weather with frosty nights may have slowed things up.Read on to find out why. . .
by Ian Bushell
In 2017 a White-letter Hairstreak butterfly was recorded in the park. These beautiful butterflies are the emblem of Wiltshire Butterfly Conservation group. They feed on English or Wych Elms, which unfortunately over the past few years have been ravaged by Dutch Elm disease, leaving dead gaunt trees within some hedge lines.Continue reading “Disease Resistant Elms”
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is the earliest of our native flowering trees.Continue reading “Blackthorn”
A goat willow’s flowers, or catkins, known as pussy willow because they look like furry grey kittens’ paws, appear in February, one of the earliest signs of spring in the park.Continue reading
As always, the first flowers of the year are the hazel catkins: a familiar and friendly sign that spring is on its way.Continue reading
In February of 2014, the Friends of Southwick Country Park planted an orchard: thirty eight heritage apple trees of fourteen different varieties, in the southern end of the park. They have really beautiful names:Continue reading “Heritage orchard”
It had been assumed that a warming climate would lead to a longer growing season for our deciduous trees, followed by a later autumnal leaf-fall. However, research has indicated that this might not be so.Continue reading
The park’s oak trees have produced more acorns this year than any of us can ever remember. These periodic bumper harvests are called mast years.Continue reading
There is a Chinese wingnut tree (Pterocarya stenoptera) in the Arboretum.Continue reading “Wingnut”
This is fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) found, rather unusually, under a willow tree in the park; birch and pine are its preferred partners.Read on:
This year the park’s spindle trees have produced a bumper crop of poisonous, bright pink berries.
Disease resistant elm
We have precious elm saplings, resistant to Dutch elm disease, that will need to be planted out in the park soon.Continue reading
Salix is the genus name of willow, trees known and cultivated for millennia for their medicinal properties.Continue reading “Salix”
More about our oaks.Continue reading “Oak gall ink”
A whip is a slender, unbranched shoot or plant. This term is used in forestry to refer to unbranched young tree seedlings of approximately 0.5-1.0 m (1 ft 7 in-3 ft 3 in) in height and 2–3 years old, that have been grown for planting out.
There are three kinds of pigment in a usually green leaf: carotenes which are yellow, red and pink anthocyanins, and chlorophyll, which is the green that masks the other colours until autumn.
Oak trees produce thousands of acorns every year. Somebody has worked out that an oak tree can produce ten million acorns over its lifetime. In a good year, they carpet the ground under the tree.Read on:
Message from Ian Bushell.
Sad to report that Oak number 5526, dubbed Stoat Oak, in the hedge line between Corn and Sleeper Fields has suffered a two limb loss – the large upper branch taking out the lower one on its descent. The fallen branch is safe and not impinging on the hard path.
No idea why; admitted it is in full leaf and thus heavy but there has been no wind or rain in the last couple of days. This tree lost a limb about the same place about 10 years ago. Don’t think there have been any other losses in the park this summer.
More from Ian about the park’s oak trees:
Email from email@example.com to Rich Murphy, Tree and Woodland Officer.
Is it vandals or deer that have damaged this tree so badly? We suspect deer but it would be unusual at this time of year when there is so much new grass around. We defer to your expertise.
These are the flowers of an oak tree. Oaks are monoecious; they have male flowers and female flowers on the same tree.Continue reading “Oak flowers”
“Shed not a clout till may be out…”
It’s not an instruction to keep your coat on until June; it’s telling you that you can take your cardigan off once the may is in blossom, which has been known to happen as early as April.Continue reading