Since moving here, we have been slowly expanding the woodland coverage. The goal is to create an area that can be coppiced thus providing a supply of wood and also a haven for wildlife. In the late autumn, we took delivery of around 400 trees (bare root) and quickly heeled them in to protect the roots. I got around 30 planted and then the first snow hit. From then, the ground remained pretty much frozen right through till February making planting impossible. On the few days the ground was soft, the forecast was for more freezing weather so planting would have been unwise.
Finally, the ground thawed and the forecast looked warmer (above freezing anyway), so I got going. I was somewhat surprised to find that many of the baby trees were budding and some were even coming into leaf. I had to get them in more quickly than I had thought. Easier said than done, the ground is quite rocky and each stake needed a pilot hole drilled. For that, it was heavy hammer and chisel. It meant each tree took around 5 minutes to plant.
Also, each needed a tall deer guard as deer are regular visitors here. Even with deer guards, the deer can still sometimes get at and nibble away the young shoots.
It took the best part of a week before they were all in. Of course, the next in line of the recent batch of storms immediately blew some over. As well as rocky, the ground is very soft in places, so the fallen saplings had to be rescued and their stakes made firmer.
We are looking forward to watching them grow over the coming years.