Our volunteers could be forgiven for seeing plug plants and tree whips every time they close their eyes at the moment, it’s been a busy start to the planting season!
First up was our half-term tree planting event at Little Woolden on February 18th.
As part of the Woodland Trust’s MOREwoods scheme, we purchased 1600 trees of alder, rowan, hawthorn, hazel and willow with funding from Salford CVS, Salford CCG and Hamilton Davies Trust. In time these trees will form a buffer zone along the edge of the reserve and also provide food and shelter for birds and small mammals.
We are hoping that nearby Willow Tits will chose this area as a future home. Willow Tit numbers have declined by some 94% since the 1970s, making it the UK’s most threatened resident bird. However, we know they live nearby and the North West holds a large proportion of the country’s population.
The day was a huge success, setting a new record for number of participants at a Chat Moss event, with over 70 people getting stuck in. At one point we even ran out of spades! There were groups from Salford Young Carers and Princes Park Garden Centre, as well as local families and individuals, all ably supported by our regular volunteers and overseen by Mike, LWT Chat Moss Project Officer and Andy, Carbon Landscape Trainee.
In the afternoon, RHS Garden Bridgewater and their infrastructure works contractor A E Yates Ltd, came down to plant a few trees and present us with some new wheel barrows and hand tools, including a much coveted small tree popper. Many thanks to them!
We have been replanting Willow and occasional Pine saplings, removed from the main moss area during scrub clearance, into this new woodland to add diversity and save what we can.
At the start of March a small group from Friends of Chat Moss and Princes Park Garden Centre ventured out onto Cadishead Moss. They planted almost 300 Cross-leaved Heather plants that the garden centre has been growing on for us since the Salford CVS Volunteer week event last June, when we potted on 500 commercially grown plug plants.
They found a new home amongst some really decent Sphagnum hummocks, which is the perfect place to plant this bog specialist. The garden centre team will be joining us again next week to help with more planting.
Since then thousands and thousands of plugs of Common Cotton Grass, Hare’s Tail Cotton Grass and Cross Leaved Heath have been delivered, along with bags and bags of Sphagnum. We have also planted well over 1000 Common Cotton grass plugs grown from seed by Princes Park Garden Centre.
The Hare’s Tail Cotton Grass and Cross Leaved Heath are vital for creating suitable habitat for the Large Heath Butterfly.
As well as our regular volunteer work parties, The Carbon Landscape have hosted a couple of planting days, with more planned, to help get all these plants in the ground where they belong. Throughout the next 2 years there will be a steady stream of plants being planted in mosses across the area, so plenty of opportunities to get peaty!