Mid May report

Since the last report in April there have been heavy winds and frost, both of which have affected the Gimswood planting.

The winds blew the mulch mats around, so they have all had to be placed around the plants again. I was thinking that they were going to be the best weed-suppression method, but have been proved wrong. Some have worked very well but mostly either they move in the wind, or rot away too quickly and some are even allowing the coarser grass to grow through. In the end it might be down to herbicide (which has not yet been needed) or wood chippings, which do work as long as the pile is large enough and birds do not scratch it away looking for worms. Manure proved to be a total waste of time because it dries out into hard lumps and suppresses nothing.

The frost has damaged the new growth on the Ash and Oak, not only on the saplings, but also on the mature trees in the wood next door. Everything else seems immune, although not everything has yet sprouted. We estimate a survival so far of more than 99%.

The pond has mosquito larvae and water beetles in it, the green algal soup has cleared, but the surprise is that there appear to be fish fry there too. I must say I am disappointed because that is bad news for any frog and toad spawn we will add in subsequent years.

Mike from the RSPB has done a survey. I will add a species list after his second visit, but have great pleasure in announcing now that there are Tree Sparrows thriving in one of the hedges.