Many of you may wonder why and what is happening with the holly within Park Wood. Since nearly all of the seriously invasive plants (remember all the Laurel and Bamboo?) have been dealt with by our steady work programmes, most of these areas have been colonised by masses of young Holly, some from seeding but mostly by vigorous suckers from older root systems.
Holly is native to the wood but now completely dominates many areas, casting really dense shade, preventing virtually all other plants from growing in competition with it, particularly the important ancient ground flora and other underwood, such as Hazel.
It was decided we would apply to the Forestry Commission for grant-aid to help us bring the Holly back under control by coppicing. John Stride, the local Woodland Officer inspected the problem and recommended stump treatment to control 90% of the Holly, so all other native species can flourish. This extended action has been accepted as beneficial by the Woodland Trust and Havant Borough Council.
So the plan will tackle this 90% of the Holly by working in different parts of the wood over the next three years. Well formed Holly trees, representing the other 10%, will be retained, although the prolific suckers and lower branches will be removed to allow much more light for the ground flora and to improve visitor visibility.
This will involve felling, treating stumps with Round-Up, debranching, stacking of cordwood and burning of lop and top.
Clearance has begun on the scrub under young oaks in the south meadow. The aim is to get rid of saplings that are spindly, diseased or suffered a large amount of squirrel damage. This applies in the front meadow as well. This will give a greater space and opportunity for the stronger saplings to grow into mature oak trees. Again this action has been approved.
All this work will really improve the biodiversity of Park Wood and your woodland experience but please bear with us whilst this is being undertaken OR better still help us in whatever capacity you can.