Tree-mendous planting target achieved

Despite the erratic weather this winter, our Landscaping Team has been hard at work keeping the town looking great. Steve Howells tells us more about what they’ve been up to.

At the beginning of 2017, we were set a target of planting 100 new trees in and around the Greenway. We started off well planting 25 new trees in Wymondley Wood to replace 10 trees that had to be felled due to disease or damage, as well as five new trees in the In Bloom garden at Standalone Farm.

Then, while searching for other suitable sites, we carried out a survey on the orchard in Croft Lane. We found that there was plenty of space to increase the number of fruit trees, so we put a plan in place. Unfortunately due to the poor weather in December, our supplier was unable to supply the trees so we narrowly missed our100 new trees target by the end of 2017.

However, all was not lost and in January our supplier contacted us to say they could deliver the 112 apple trees, all of which have now been planted.  Following tradition, we made sure the trees were all heritage varieties, which means we now have nine different types of heritage trees planted in the orchard. While the apples are not for eating they will make great good cider!

One of the benefits for these trees is that they are bare-root and are only planted during the autumn and winter. This saved us having to water them in the early stages and means that the trees will quickly establish themselves once the weather warms up.

As some of the original trees planted are no longer available, we are hoping to embark on a joint project with Hatfield House to create our own grafted trees using cuttings from the original. This will mean we will have created our own trees to plant in a few years’ time, as well as supplying some to Hatfield House, who want to establish their own cider orchard within their grounds.

We have also planted 12 native trees and 200 meters of native hedging and in March we will be sowing 800sq meters of wildflower meadow around the edge of the orchard, which should help to encourage and maintain the wildlife in the area.

Although we reached our target slightly later than planned, it was still a job well done.  We have already made a good start with our 2018 target - we have another 10 being planted in the next few weeks, so it's looking like another good year for tree planting in Letchworth.

The Heritage Foundation planted over 100 trees in 2017.