Dry May brings early start for National Trust rangers tending 1,000 young trees
Our Mourier Valley woodland restoration project was in need of some early TLC from National Trust Countryside Ranger Richard Rive (pictured) and Jersey Trees for Life staff this week due to the recent unseasonal high temperatures.
It took two staff two and a half days to water around 1,000 young trees planted between last December and February in the joint project between Jersey Electricity and Jersey Water, The National Trust for Jersey and Jersey Trees for Life. The two utilities are providing £40,000 to plant around 6,000 trees on over eight hectares of land (20 acres) next to existing woodland at Mourier Valley in a move to safeguard biodiversity and offset carbon.
It is the biggest tree-planting programme the Trust has undertaken and Lands Manager Jon Parkes, who is jointly managing the project, says: ‘We’ve seen a trend over the last couple of years of higher temperatures early and that means the trees need a little extra attention.
‘The heat, combined with northern and easterly winds dries out the soil so even when the rain does come, it doesn’t penetrate very deeply and get to the roots. These trees are at their most vulnerable at this early stage and need quite a lot of attention until the roots are more established and the trees are tall enough to cast shade.
‘When we planted these first five fields late last year we used doughnuts of woodchip around the bases of the trees as this helps prevent water evaporating from the soil. We’ve noticed those trees with the most woodchip are doing better. Local tree surgeons, AAA Tree Services and “Tree Fella” are now kindly donating woodchip so we and Jersey Trees for Life are doing more mulching as well as watering.’
The Trust will be ordering more trees for the project soon and planting will resume early November-December. Jersey Electricity CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘Jersey Electricity and Jersey Water employees took part in the first two planting sessions, planting around 700 trees alongside Trust Rangers and Jersey Trees for Life and we are eager to plant more. Jersey has a zero-carbon target to aim for and we believe this project is a small but important step that helps our community start the vital journey to deliver a zero-carbon future. Once completed, we aim to have public trails through the woods for the public to enjoy this breath-taking valley.’