Springtime Practical tips

Foresters reckoned to have all planting done by the middle of March and that is a good rule especially for bare rooted stock although container grown plants can be planted with care all year round. This winter has washed a lot of nutrients from the soil so adding compost as general fertilizer and mulch is to be recommended.

To give special spring fillip for trees, after making sure newly planted trees are still firm in the ground and then at bud burst give them a solution of sugar 30gm to 1 litre of water. This will stimulate root growth so aid establishment and better nutrient uptake. Remember mulching is also important not only to suppress the weeds but helps to retain water in the soil.

Discussion Topic: Citizens Woodland Investment Trusts

Despite copious grants and tax incentives, the failure of the last forty years of forestry policy is that still about half of England's 765, 000 ha of broadleaved woodlands remain unmanaged. This has been detrimental to all aspects of woodlands including the flora and fauna and numbers of grey squirrel and deer continue to rise unabated. The suggestion made in the 'A Dendrologist's Handbook was the setting up 'Woodland Investment Trusts' with the declared aims to provide multipurpose woodland management in lowland Britain with investors receiving the same financial benefits as other woodland owners. It could then be seen, within the proper constraints of producing a return on capital in excess of inflation, exactly what good forestry practice can do.

A recent debate about this topic by members of a tree club identified that the high cost of woodlands was an obstacle. This is because the price is artificially inflated since, like farmland, it can be passed free of Inheritance Tax. Such special status recognizes the need for continuity of care needed for farms and particularly woodlands. This tax arrangement certainly benefits individual owners although often, does not ensure continuity of good woodland management but explains why 70% of the UK is owned by just 1% of the population. Surely this benefit should be extended to more people through special farming and forestry investment trusts? This would also provide better public understanding of both the problems and profits of such finite resources.

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