Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Last week, the third strim of the season was completed and slowly but surely, the process is allowing grasses to become established. We still do not know how 18kg of wild grass seed could have such little impact! Once we have predominantly grasses established, we will revert to an annual July mowing to create a richer wild-life habitat as the trees grow into a shelter belt stand.

We are absolutely delighted with tree growth at the end of their first summer on Acol Hill. There have been no casualties so far and all species have taken well. Not surprising, the trees at the bottom of the slope have made most progress with more water and a degree of protection from wind from the hedge and trees on the other side of the road. The wild cherry, willow and alders have shot away as the picture above shows. Further up the slope , less moisture and exposure to wind has resulted in slower growth as would be expected.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


The picture above shows a problem we have on The Manston Road with our young Hedgerows and with the HSBC Hedge. You are looking at a clutch of caterpillars of The Brown Tail Moth
( Euproctis Chrysorrhoea).

The female lays eggs in autumn and small caterpillars (by the hundred) wrap themselves in a collective 'tent' of white gossamer to over-winter and then embark on a leaf stripping exercise on hawthorns in the spring. They strip all leaves and seem to kill young planting. They spread out from the plant with their original 'tent' on and keep eating and defoliating as they go. We have noticed they are also quite happy to strip our young cherry trees as well.

This picture shows the distinctive 'tent' wrapped around a twig from a hawthorn and caterpillars on the prowl. They have two distinctive spots on the rear of the abdomen and contact with them or their sloughed skins should be avoided. These little beggars have hairs that irritate and can cause severe rashes and irritate the eyes.

Control methods are to spray in spring before they spread out along the hedge or better still, cut off and burn the white 'tents' in the late autumn (Nov/Dec). We will need to check over 5000 plants this winter if we are to control the problem!


The shelter belt trees are thriving on Acol Hill at the moment but there is no sign of the result of hand-sowing 16kg of wildlife mix grass seed, as the picture above shows all too clearly. The crop (wheat) has been removed but at the moment we are likely to end up with a 1200m sq weed-patch that will need strimming or mowing to keep it down and encourage grass.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


(Project 16 on Projects Map)

The new hedgerow project on Shottendane Road sponsored by Infratil (owners of Manston Airport) and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines was completed on Saturday 15 March 2008. In total, 2331 hawthorns and 26 wild cherry have been planted and 583 m of mulch sheet laid. Work began in earnest in January and its good to have finished the project within the time allocated.

The photograph below shows the laying, spading in and 'turf' weighting in progress. One of the problems we are experiencing is the early budding of the cut off hawthorn stems with the result that with even with great care taken, buds sprouting from the stem are damaged when laying the sheeting down. The idea of mulch sheeting is to suppress weeds, retain moisture and reduce maintenance in the first few years of the hedgerow's establishment. The photograph below shows the project from the junction of Shottendane Road and Minster Road looking west towards our Site 2 at the junction of Park Road with Shottendane Road. We have one or two serious infestations along the verge of 'Alexanders' and it is amazing to see them in flower in March! (They are meant to flower in June/July)

Monday, 17 March 2008


The strange sight of all our trees on The Phillips Shelter Belt, Acol Hill covered in black dustbin bags was too good to miss. The story goes back to October 2007 when Quex Park were expected to drill grass seed into a 6m wide strip beside the road; wheat was drilled instead!

The blag bags were put on one morning in the last week of February to protect the young plants from herbicide and by early afternoon the shelter belt strip was sprayed with a weak Round-Up mixture to kill the wheat growing in it. The effect two weeks later is shown in the photograph below.

In late March, on a mild wet day, the strip will be hand-sown with a wildlife grass mix and hopefully we will achieve a grass sward to encourage wild-life whilst the shelter belt grows. The hymn 'Plough the fields and scatter' comes to mind.

Monday, 4 February 2008


In 1998 Trees for Thanet were asked by Broadstairs & St Peters town Council to help it plant a screening hedge in front of an un-sightly walnut pailing fence. This was done by end of Jan 1998 and as the photographs below show,a good screening wild life hedgerow was the result 10 years later. However, Broadstairs Town Council and Thanet District Council, in Dec 2007 allowed a security fence similar to that at the Securitas Depot, Tonbridge to be erected on the wrong side of screening hedgerows and off the original fence line and a landscaping catastrophe has resulted.
The photograph above shows a new security fence placed the wrong side of a hedge planted by Trees for Thanet in 1998 !
The photograph above shows how our hedge looked like in October 2007; doing a wonderful job of screening the allotment fence!
The Isle of Thanet Gazette reported on the project in 1998.

The photograph above shows why a hedgerow was needed to screen this walnut pailing fence which was the boundary of Culmers land allotments. Compare this situation to the one now created by TDC and Broadstairs TC!

What is the point of Trees for Thanet trying to improve the aesthetic and visual environment of parts of Thanet when 'vandalism' of the nature shown above can be perpetrated by, of all people, our local Councils!

Friday, 25 January 2008


Meridian TV came out on Sun 20 Jan to film Trees for Thanet volunteers planting the co-sponsored Infratil (KIA Manston) and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines hedge on The Shottendane Road. They were interested in why the young volunteers do it and how we felt about some criticism locally that we had accepted sponsorship from an airport and airline. In the picture above the camera records some of the 375 holes dug that morning.
This project now has 950 hedgerow trees planted and it is just a case of prune plants, dig holes and carefully hand-plant as the picture above shows. Mulch sheet will be laid once plants have been 'rained-in' to wash soil around roots and fill air-spaces. The ground was particularly heavy and rain saturated despite Thanet having less rain than other parts of the country during the week.

Paul Wells making the point to Meridian TV that Trees for Thanet is perfectly happy to accept our sponsors' money and support and is delighted that they are supporting young people in improving the Thanet countryside.