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Rejuvenating ancient trees

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Rejuvenating ancient trees

For centuries, firewood from Maidensgrove Scrubs was used by local people with the common right of estovers.  The beech trees were cut low to the ground, left to re-grow and then the branches cut again a few years later.  This traditional practice is known as coppicing.   

During the 20th century coppice management ceased and many of the beeches have not been cut for more than 90 years. They are now so overgrown that they are starting to decay and will eventually die. The trees have grown tall and wide, with their leaves shading out sunlight and making the woodland dark even on bright summer days.

This was a second phase of work which started in 2012.  To save these ancient trees and ensure they survive for years to come, tree surgeons reduced the number and weight of branches in another 60 trees which was causing the trees to be stressed. The tree surgeons worked from ropes, carefully leaving enough branches to avoid killing the trees. 

Site manager, Giles Alder, said "Thank you so much for making this possible by funding the work. The whole thing was rather daunting at first but I think that now we've made a start seen how well the trees respond, it doesn't feel so difficult any more. In the coming years we can now do further work once the trees respond to the increased light."

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