With water levels still slightly too high this morning for electrofishing surveys, we decided to take Jim and Niall, our two volunteers for the day, out tree planting. We are grateful for their generous support. It’s great to have their assistance and they seem to enjoy dong something that will help the fish and environment for years to come. We are always happy to take volunteers with us that are genuinely interested in what we do.
After lifting about 35 trees from our nursery beds, we headed straight to the Culroy Burn in the Doon catchment and planted them without delay. This burn has just been fenced by ART and we are attempting to improve both fish habitat and water quality for the long term.
July isn’t an ideal time for planting but the trees have been rooted and grown on at the office over the last few months and we took great care to ensure they were carefully lifted, well watering in and that they had friable soil around their roots as they were planted in their new location near Sauchrie. We use a petrol driven auger to ensure we dig deep and tight holes to cut down soil disturbance and water loss. This method also ensures these rooted cuttings have adequate support without having to go to the expense of staking and tubing them. One of the things we’ve learned is that by taking 6 – 8′ cuttings early in the year, we can produce tall trees that don’t suffer from damage by grazing hares and sheep to the same extent as smaller ones. That’s not to say that we don’t take smaller cuttings, we do, but we think the taller ones are generally better for our purposes and we have even rooted them up to 8′ tall and 2-3″ in diameter this year. Planting cuttings like this in situ, means they won’t require to be transplanted and offers a quick green bank reinforcement. We like to experiment and are finding that we don’t need to follow convention.
I expect the rooted cuttings we planted today will survive just fine and we will monitor rainfall over the next couple of weeks and water them if required. A little bit of care will ensure success. The forecast is for rain at the moment so we may not need to do any more for them. Getting them in now will allow them several months growth before the winter and a better start next year. Any bare soil was seeded today and should grass over quickly.
This newly fenced stretch of burn will quickly improve and again, I find I’m wishing a year or two away to see how it progresses. The Doon DSFB contributed towards 40% of the cost of the fence with ART arranging the agreements and project managing this and other new fences for them. This is excellent use of the levies they collect from anglers and owners.