Everytime you see a severed stump, or more commonly a row of severed stumps like this – imagine the lovely flowering trees that once stood there and ask yourself who could do such a thing and more importantly why.
Hedges like these are not the exception in this country – they are the rule and when you consider the number of trees subjected to this abuse it’s no wonder we’ve got a biodiversity meltdown!
And why on earth was this tree cut? It’s the only one left!
Look at this brutal mess.
If mature trees are decapitatated then cut to the knuckle year after year they cannot flower and they cannot fruit. No flowers and no fruit means no pollinators and no birds. It’s very simple isn’t it?
Furthermore – this annual savagery slowly kills the hedge as the height is reduced year after year and those poor shredded stumps cannot heal properly so fungal diseases get in leading to rot and death. Eventually you are left with a gappy hedge consisting of elder and grass. Lovely.
Hedges need to be at least 2 metres tall or birds can’t nest in them. If they are too low to the ground, predators can reach into the nests and take the young. They also need cover above the nest or crows will walk along that lovely flat top and take the eggs or the young birds.
If a hedge is encroaching onto a road then lightly trim the sides there’s no need to cut the bloody top off.
Let’s not forget that hedges are carbon sinks but only if you let them grow. The taller they get the more water they will use so there will be less waterlogging and less soil washed into the rivers. The list of benefits is very long and I’ve hardly started.
Towards the end of the season you will probably have observed bright green pollen loads coming in – like this. Please excuse poor photo.
If you ask your local beekeeper, he or she is likely to tell you that it is meadowsweet. However, if you doggedly search the drifts of meadowsweet in your locale for a bee with full pollen baskets, you will see that the pollen they are carrying is actually a creamy yellow. See photo below:
It’s easy to get confused when setting up your queen rearing – I know – I’ve been there.
But don’t panic, this simple-to-use timetable/diagram below is for queen rearing using the Cloake board method with a Jenter kit. However, if you prefer to graft or the queen won’t play ball with the Jenter – all is not lost – just graft the smallest larvae you can find on day 8 and all should be well.
By the way, the header photo is of the Lewis chessmen – found on the island of Lewis, Scotland in 1831. They were made from walrus tusks and whale teeth in Norway or perhaps Iceland in the 12th century.
Their queen rearing is not going well. He thinks she’s to blame. She thinks she’s to blame. Meanwhile the bishop wonders if it could be something to do with his grafting tool. It does look a bit on the clonky side.
Skep making course with Jane Sellers at Ashford Heritage Centre, Saturday 16th March 2019 from 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Price – around €80 depending on numbers. This includes full instruction and sufficient materials (long stemmed wheat straw and rattan binding) to complete a standard size swarm skep 11”x13″.
Tools will be provided but bring scissors, and a bodkin if you have one.
Tea and Coffee will be available but please bring your own packed lunch.
Please note – skep-making is time consuming. During the course of the day you will learn how to make a skep. You might not complete it, but you will leave with the know-how and materials to finish it at home.
Please also note – there are maximum of 10 places available so if you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.