Being 'green'



Being ‘green’ is not always as easy as it seems. We recycle, grow vegetables organically and make compost from household waste, I thought that we were doing well, but apparently not well enough. We must plant more trees.

Thousands of trees will be planted in towns and cities over the country in the next four years with extra funding.

But you cannot just plant any kind of tree anywhere and hope all will be well. It is probably best if we plant indigenous trees to encourage our own wildlife and set up green corridors for the creatures and plant population.

Shropshire is certainly playing its part in tree planting. Even though we have lots of trees and woodland in Shropshire, we are doing even more to protect our diminishing wildlife and help control some floods.

Here, in Oak Meadow, we planted twenty trees a few years ago. They were healthy and settled in well. But those were the days when rabbits were all over our fields. They seemed to have survived myxomatosis and, of course, they loved our young saplings. It was not long before the rabbits started to chew the thin bark and then nip off the top shoots. They bit the terminal buds and left the young trees to wilt on the grass. Soon every one of the saplings was dead.

The answer is to put tree guards on newly planted trees. And that is what we have done ever since. Now, when we plant trees, we put tree guards, like a sleeve, around the base. We have learnt our lesson and all our new trees have survived.

But I have read recently that we should not use tree guards. They are made of plastic and so are not biodegradable. When they finally ‘disappear’, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces until the soil and waterways are clogged with plastic pollution.

What are we to do? It seems that there is no answer because we must protect our growing trees. I see plastic guards along the roadside. There is no alternative that I know of, at present.

Despite my misgivings we have just ordered and planted ten more trees. They will help our wildlife, there will be food and nesting sites for birds. Also, some of the trees grow in damp conditions and help to soak up rainwater and, of course, they will all help absorb carbon.

But if we protect them with plastic tree guards, we could undo all the good we are doing. So, we have left them unguarded, not daring to think about a rabbit getting into the garden. Thank goodness we do not have deer.

(Taken from my Thursday's column in the Shropshire Star)


Surely this little rabbit will not harm our trees?

  

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