Pruning is not essential but it encourages trees to grow upwards instead of outwards as well as creating a diverse canopy structure.
Shrubs and trees require pruning to maintain their structure and value to wildlife. Leaving cuttings on borders provides a habitat for other wildlife. Glorious Woodlands will include pruning as part of your maintenance plan.
Glorious Woodlands will ensure all workers are using a good pruning saw, this is essential to make a clean cut close to the tree trunk. The cut will be square to the branch and preserve the bulge at its base, this is called a branch collar. In order to prevent disease and decay, Glorious Woodlands will not damage the tree’s bark and never cut the branch flush with the mains stem. For most native trees, pruning is best done in winter. However, species such as cherry and walnut need pruning in summer to reduce risk of disease and sap bleeding.
February and March are the ideal months to cut hedgerows, this allows birds to forage the berries over winter. Also, cutting hedges every two to three years compared to every year increases the number of flowers for invertebrates in spring and more berries for birds in winter.
After 7 to 10 years, trees are ready to coppice but this depends on species and growth rate. Coppicing is where you harvest shoots from the stump, or stool, of a cut-down tree. By cutting all the shoots from a stool together you produce roundwood for different purposes. This includes: long thin sticks for beanpoles, thicker stakes for hedgelaying, logs for firewood and green woodworking which can all be sourced from standard trees.
Coppicing in your woodland promotes biodiversity. Coupes (areas of coppice) at different stages provide habitats for a wide range of wildlife. Dormice love being amongst coppice and extra light reaching the forest floor encourages beautiful bluebells and other plants. Coppiced wood also attracts butterflies. Overall, coppiced wood means the whole ecosystem thrives as a results.
When trees are young and still establishing, Glorious Woodlands will ensure bracken is controlled. Bracken competes with young trees for light in the early part of the growing season, and then collapses, often smothering young trees.
Bracken is often viewed as a problem in open areas and it is certainly undesirable for it to completely take over. However, once trees have established, violet-rich bracken habitats can be very important for fritillary butterflies so Glorious Woodlands will consider managing it more sensitively, particularly if your wood is in a fritillary hotspot. When managing open space, we don’t manage every part at the same time, this allows habitats for wildlife to remain. When cutting vegetation, we cut tall vegetation on either side of a ride every 2-3 years, and we cut different areas in alternate years. This will ensure that there is suitable habitats for specialist species year round.
Part of the Glorious Woodlands maintenance plan involves cutting back bracken areas every 3 to 4 years in June. Other grassy areas can be cut more regularly to avoid these areas becoming too dominant.
Bracken bruising is where rollers are pulled behind a tractor or quad bike to damage the stems, this is effective in reducing density. Is it best to do this in June and August. Removing bracken litter in autumn and winter by racking it up encourages violet growth. It is important to only carry out operation when conditions are warm so reptiles are active enough to move out the way. Care should be taken between March and August as bracken is used extensively by many species including ground-nesting birds.