August 30, 2013, by sustainablenottingham
New shoots at Diamond Wood
Martyn Lloyd, Grounds Maintenance Manager, reports on developments at the University’s Diamond Wood.
In 2011 the University launched the Diamond Wood project, with its aim to turn 26 hectares of arable land into native woodland habitats. Planting proved problematic with some of the worst flooding in the area followed by the coldest spring for years. However, with typical University determination, all was achieved and the last trees were planted before Easter 2013.
A wet autumn, snowy winter and severely cold spring were followed by a very dry early summer. On Pasture Lane many of the trees struggled and there were concerns about their survival; however young trees can be extremely resilient actually shutting down during extreme weather only to burst in to leaf at the first sign of rain. Pasture Lane woodland went from a 50% level of survival to around 95% survival; nothing short of miraculous given the appalling conditions the plants had struggled through. Today the woodland is really starting to show its tops with many of the young trees already starting to climb above the planting tubes. One young oak has even produced its first crop of acorns.
The pond area was planted quite late in the year but the marginal and submerged plants are establishing well, as are the wild flower mixes sown around the pond margins and across the central mound.
The willows on the Soar Lane woodland have already exceeded 2 metres in height and the area has seen a massive flush of wild flowers. Butterflies were subsequently seen in far greater number on Soar Lane than Pasture Lane and, whilst they were predominantly common species, it was still reassuring to see that biodiversity is already increasing.
Developments over the coming months will include the installation of information boards and seating. Timber sculpture will also start to appear this autumn with local sculptor Errol Morris converting felled trees from University Park into seating and sculptures across Pasture Lane. With other ideas planned for the future the Diamond Wood project looks to be going from strength to strength.
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