A giant alder catkin

Spring is fast approaching and our attention is beginning to shift to emerging tree flowers. Among the first to appear are the many wind-pollinated species. Trees such as birches, hazel, oaks and willows have beautiful pendulous male catkins, or inflorescences, containing many scaly bracts (flowers) in place of petals seen on many insect-pollinated plants. Another… Read More

Tree rat and squirrel pie

The grey squirrel is perhaps one of the most commonly seen of British mammals being highly visible in parks, gardens and woodlands.  This, in combination with its large eyes and bushy tail, often make it an attractive and popular animal in the public eye. Grey squirrels are, however, a serious pest and the bane of… Read More

Fragrant and odiferous trees

Trees are beautiful to the eye but their smell is often overlooked. I don’t mean the obvious showy flowering trees but the hidden olfactory wonders in leaf, bark and seed. Here are my favourite Fragrant trees, and some less popular Odiferous trees. Fragrant trees The fresh needles of the European larch (Larix decidua) in Spring,… Read More

More forest plantations less green fuzz

Planting more of the same ‘native woodlands’ that now litter the English countryside with little more ambition in their creation and management than a membership publicity drive or community engagement excercise, will be regretted long after the PR-masters behind them have past. In their own way, these are as regrettable as the dark satanic rows of conifers that were planted sixty years ago.
If we continue to plant green fuzz across our food-producing fields, with little concern either for the impending need to be more self-sufficient in food production, or for the need to reduce our enormous reliance on timber imports, Britain’s environmental credibility will be increasingly undermined. Read More

How big will this tree grow?

Many people are interested in how big a tree’s crown will grow. It can be important in planning gardens, managing street trees, forest silviculture and in assessing the health of ancient trees. Estimating tree height is very imprecise as it is dependent on so many different factors.  However, I wrote recently about the very good… Read More