Warwick Boat Club News

Autumn landscaping plans

Tree-related plans for this autumn  

‘Make no small plans’

The area

This note deals only with the area to the left of the Banbury Road entrance, as you enter.  It will be the subject of felling and planting this autumn.

The area to the right of the entrance will be substantially affected by development plans, but on a timetable that is uncertain as yet.  The area to the far left – towards the river – is a dense thicket.  There are no current plans to do any significant work there, but some action will be taken to improve the habitat for wild life. 

How things look now

The area has been planted progressively, but without a plan.  By last year it was heavily overgrown.  The major species are cherry laurel, spotted laurel, yew and elder.  There is also lime and ash, together with different species of oak.  Some small Western Red Cedar were planted last year.  There is an ivy hedge.  The only large trees are individual specimens of lime, beech, American oak and English oak.

Last autumn some felling was undertaken.  This year the clearance has continued and the area is now much more open.  A number of beech were transferred from a hedge in a different part of the site.  Shrubs were also transferred from a nearby bed to the left-hand side of the entrance way. 

The approach

What we have is an amenity plantation.   It is not a garden (except where the shrubs have been moved).  Nor is it a woodland, which implies something more naturalistic.  Apart from some self-sown ash, everything has been planted at one time or another, for the benefit of the Club and its members.

What are the purposes of the planting?

• To give a welcome and to send a signal, both to members and passers-by.   The planting is part of an important green corridor.  It needs to look good.
• To provide a visual screen, especially the tennis courts.
• To provide a sound screen.  The ivy hedge is important here.
• To provide an element of security by deterring opportunistic entrance.

Some elements of what follows require planning permission, which has been received.

The plan

There will be some further felling – ash (which will otherwise die), weak alder, laurel.  The most prominent felling will be to remove the prominent ivy-covered poplar stump.  Although not dead, the core of the tree is hollow and the external surface is strangled by ivy.  Poplar is a soft wood and the stump could easily blow down.  Informal professional advice is clear – fell it.  We have checked that the stump would not be used by bats.

A number of trees will be moved from elsewhere.  The remaining small trees and shrubs in the nearby bed will be taken out and the bed grassed over. 

Of the twelve beech planted this spring, two have definitely not taken and have been removed.  Their place has been taken by two Western Red Cedar formerly in the wrong place.  Two other beech have definitely taken and two more probably.  The remaining trees are alive but not in leaf and will be left to overwinter, on professional advice.

A range of new trees will be introduced.  Some have been donated – Bay, Bosnian Pine, Hupeh Crab Apple.   The rest will be bought, either bare-rooted or pot-grown.  The palette will be relatively narrow in order to avoid a ‘bitty’ effect.  The main elements will be:

• Variegated holly by the boundary fence.  Perhaps eight.  This will offer a bright show with security benefits.
• Oak, to join those already present.
• Maple in different varieties, especially field maple, a robust medium-sized native.
• Crab apple, in one or two varieties, to provide some colour in spring and autumn.
• Maple, in different varieties
• Himalayan birch, for its decorative value.

The planting will begin in September and will continue until late-November for bare-rooted trees.   At the same time a large number of daffodils (variety ‘Thalia’), species tulips and bluebells are being planted. 

The result should be something which looks good, provides a good screen and is not difficult to maintain.  The wheelie bins, now resident in this area, may need some screening.

The medium term

Over the next three years, while the trees mature, all the laurel and spotted laurel should be removed and replaced with less invasive planting.

The long term

If resources allow, the hard surface leading down from the old entrance should be broken up and replaced with planting.

David Howells

September 2019

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