Tree felling

by Ian Bushell

Our Tree Officer, Rich Murphy, has been running chainsaw monitoring sessions with Clive, Phil and myself to check our competence to fell trees in the reserve. The reserve belongs to the county and they are the people who pay to insure us.

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Fly agaric again

This is fly agaric, a mycorrhizal fungus, Amanita muscaria, which is found in the reserve every year despite our lack of its preferred partners: birch and pine trees. In classic pictures of this red and white fungus, those that don’t have an elf sitting on top are usually growing picturesquely in the moss under a birch tree.

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Why do the leaves change colour?

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.

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Acorns

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 and crunch underfoot.

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“Shed not a clout till may be out…”

It’s not, as many believe, an instruction to keep your coat on until June; it’s telling you to take your cardigan off as soon as the may is in blossom, which has been known to happen as early as April.

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Hazel

Always among the year’s first flowers in the reserve are the hazel catkins in the copse near the picnic place. They are a familiar and friendly sign that spring is on its way.

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What happened to Oak 5552?

Sometimes, healthy and mature trees shed large branches during the summer for no apparent reason. This is what is known as Summer Branch Drop Syndrome and it is what happened to Oak 5552 in August of this year.

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Wednesday work party

by Ian Bushell

The weather was again kind to the working party: dry but not too hot.  Another good turn out, just missing Sarah and Alan who are on holiday. 

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Acorns

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.

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Talking to Trees

by David Feather

“I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me.” This was part of a lyric to a song some of our older nature reserve walkers will remember. Well, there is a possibility that the lyric writer might have been mistaken.

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