New look for the Orchard for the Future

Deer damage to the bark
of one of our fruit trees

The new look – mulch mats
and wraparound guards.

Sharp-eyed visitors will have noticed some changes to the young fruit trees on the Common. Firstly we’ve put some mulch mats around the trees to stop competition from grass – we’re letting the grass grow long to provide a habitat for small mammals such as voles, which will eventually become “owl takeaways” if we manage to attract some owls to the woods.

The mats are completely biodegradable. They’re made from a mixture of recycled jute and cashmere hair, needled onto a hessian backing. As the mulching mat material degrades, nitrogen and other beneficial elements will be released to benefit the growing plants. The mats are held down by recycled plastic pegs, but these are fully biodegradable too.

We’ve also had to deal with a problem of deer nibbling the bark of some of our trees. We’ve fitted wraparound guards to the main stems of the trees and we’ve painted the upper stems with a deer browsing deterrent comprising clove and almond oils. Hopefully they won’t be as attractive now as an overnight snack.

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