26 February 2013


In the raw, bleak days that we have been experiencing lately, days spent working outside don't hold much appeal. However, January and February are an ideal time of year to carry out hedging work on the meadows. The berries of the hedgerow shrubs have mostly been eaten by the birds and it is still too early for birds to be thinking about nesting.
Hedgerow management at the meadows is mostly rotational coppicing, with a priority being to coppice elm that has started to succumb to Dutch elm disease.  Coppicing elm helps to rejuvenate it and makes sure this characteristic hedgerow species continues to survive in our  hedges.

The work can look drastic immediately after it is done, but the coppiced shrubs quickly put up strong shoots in the new growing season and in a few years a really dense hedge has re-grown. Only a short section of hedge is coppiced in any one winter so that there is always a good range of ages and structure to the hedge and cover for birds and other wildlife is always maintained.

Last week the Suffolk Wildlife Trust mid-week volunteer team undertook some coppicing at both Mickfield and Fox Fritillary meadows - despite the cold the team completed two good sections of hedge and hopefully found the task a good way to keep warm in a particularly perishing week!
 I would like to thank Stuart Holland (mid-week conservation team leader) and his team for all their hard work on the meadows' behalf. Thanks also to Stuart for the photographs.

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