Black Poplar (Poplus Nigra ssp. Betulifolia) planting

Our Dallington Tree Warden has ten betulifolia whips (gender unknown) for planting before next spring.
He is currently searching for suitable planting sites and willing landowners – these trees need damp conditions.  If you are interested please contact him at treewarden@dallington.org.uk
Click on the link below for more information about this rare and beautiful tree.
https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/black-poplar/

 

Urgent message from Tree Council/Defra regarding oak trees

Message from the Tree Council and Defra forwarded via our tree warden, Doug Edworthy.

Tree Council logo“Dear Tree Wardens,
We’ve been asked by colleagues at Defra for your help with an urgent tree health matter concerning recent outbreaks of Oak Processionary Moth.

If you know anyone who has recently planted larger oaks (as defined in the press notice below) imported from the continent, Defra is requesting that they check these trees for OPM, and report any findings to Tree Alert. At this time of year, you are most likely to notice the hairy-looking caterpillar or web-like nests – please do not touch either as they could potentially be harmful to your health. Please find further guidance from Defra below, and for more information on the moth and its identification, visit Observatree or Forest Research. Thank you for your help in this important matter. Warm regards, The Tree Council Team”

———-

Copy of Press Notice:

“Horticulture industry urged to check for Oak Processionary Moth

Landscapers, nurseries, landowners and woodland managers are being urged to take action after the Plant Health Service intercepted a number of cases of Oak Processionary Moth caterpillars (OPM) on trees imported from the Netherlands.

Anyone who has planted larger oaks (defined below) imported from the continent should urgently check their trees for OPM and report any findings to TreeAlert. It is vital that these trees are checked now to minimise the spread of this damaging tree pest and protect the health of our oak trees.

OPM is an established pest in parts of London and surrounding areas, but the rest of the country is designated as a Protected Zone. Swift action is being taken by the Plant Health Service to eradicate recent findings of OPM in Hampshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, including surveillance, tracing work and destruction of both the caterpillars and infested trees. The Plant Health Service have also announced an urgent review of import controls on oaks.

OPM caterpillars feed on oak leaves and can increase trees’ vulnerability to attack by other pests and diseases, making them less able to withstand weather conditions such as drought and floods. The cases highlight the need for continued vigilance from industry and government to protect the UK’s trees.

Dr Anna Brown, Head of Tree Health & Contingency Planning, Forestry Commission, said: “Those of us involved in importing or trading plants must maintain our vigilance against exotic pests and diseases such as OPM. There is a lot we can do such as buying British, only buying stock from reputable, responsible suppliers and inspecting imported plants.

“Inspect, inspect and inspect again – we can’t check imported plants too often for signs of trouble. Don’t presume that because your supplier found no evidence of a pest or disease that you won’t either. You might spot something that they have missed.”

The Forestry Commission, councils and land managers tackle the pest with an annual control programme of tree treatment. Increased measures to protect the country from the spread of OPM were introduced in 2018. Restrictions on the import of most species of oak into England have also been introduced as part of these regulations to protect native trees.

Professor Nicola Spence, Defra Chief Plant Health Officer, said: “Since 2012 we have invested more than £37 million in tree health research, including a dedicated programme of research and development on oak.

“We will continue to work with local authorities and land managers to tackle OPM with a control programme of treatment and surveillance.  In 2018, we introduced tighter restrictions on the importation of oak trees to England but are now looking at options to strengthen these even further.

“The Plant Health Service has received reports of an exceptional expansion of the OPM population in parts of Europe, due the hot weather experienced last year.”

If you suspect OPM, you should not attempt to destroy or move infected material yourself as the nests and caterpillars can pose some risks to human health. For more on how to identify OPM, visit https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/opm.

Further information:Larger oaks are defined here as those with a girth >8cm at 1.2m above the root collar.
To report sightings of pests and diseases, use the TreeAlert online portal: https://treealert.forestresearch.gov.uk/
The Plant Health Service is made up of Defra, Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Forestry Commission.
For more on OPM, visit: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/pest-and-disease-resources/oak-processionary-moth-thaumetopoea-processionea/
For guidance on importing trees and plants to England and Wales from the EU visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-trees-and-plants-to-england-and-wales-from-the-eu
To find out more about plant health Protected Zones visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/resources/plant-health-protected-zones/
To find out how the government will work with others to protect England’s tree population from pest and disease threats, see the Tree Health Resilience Strategy: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tree-health-resilience-strategy-2018.
The Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) is part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and implements and enforces plant health policy in England, and in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government. For more information on plant health controls, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plant-health-controls

Dallington Forest Rare Insects Found

(Posted on behalf of Doug Edworthy )

Photo of wetland cranefly
Photo ©️ J. Salmela

Dallington Forest is home to so many treasures. A recent survey – Dallington Forest Saproxylic Invertebrate Sampling report – just published, has found a number of nationally rare and endangered species including a wetland cranefly Ellipteroides alboscutellatus (pictured here)  described in the report as “a remarkable discovery”

From April through October 2018, 150 species of insect were identified from sampling in Dallington Forest; 48 of the Coleoptera species, 37 of the Diptera and 2 Hemiptera were saproxylic – dependent on decaying wood, giving a total of 87 saproxylic species; 16 of the species trapped are of special note due to their rarity across Britain, and these comprise 5 Nationally Rare and 11 Nationally Scarce species.

The report by Ecological Consultant Dr. Keith Alexander was commissioned by Dallington Forest Project. It was funded by a grant from Sussex Lund, grant application assisted by the Woodland Trust, Ancients of the Future (a Buglife project funded by the heritage Lottery Fund) provided traps and materials, and Peter Chandler identified the Diptera.

A PDF copy of the report is available here:
Dallington Forest Saproxylic Invertebrate Sampling 2018 Keith Alexander

Saproxylic invertebrates are those invertebrates that are dependent on dead or decaying wood (or dependent on other organisms that are themselves dependent on dead wood). These invertebrates may not be dependent on the wood for their entire life cycle but at least some stage is dependent on wood.

A good example of this are the larvae of some beetles that feed on decaying wood. The adults may feed on other things (such as nectar).

Dead wood is an essential component of woodland ecosystems, but one that is often overlooked and cleared away as unsightly or on the grounds of safety or neatness. As a result, invertebrate species that rely on dead wood are now some of the most threatened in Britain. It is vital to retain a variety of dead wood habitats within the woodland. This includes standing trees, dead branches, stems and snags on living trees and fallen branches and stumps. A range of dead wood at all stages of decay will provide a range of habitats for more specialist saproxylic (dead wood) invertebrates.

See the following websites for more information about saproxylic invertebrates: –

https://www.buglife.org.uk/search?combine_2=saproxylic

http://ec.europa.eu/…/spec…/redlist/beetles/introduction.htm

https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/glossary/terms/saproxylic

Tree Warden advice about Ash Dieback

(Message posted on behalf of Doug Edworthy, Tree warden for Dallington and Brightling)

In February 2019 the Tree Council published an Action Plan Toolkit concerning Chalara (Ash Dieback disease) primarily aimed at authorities and big landowners.

While the Action Plan Toolkit might not be directly applicable to all parishioners of Brightling and Dallington, there are landholdings in the parishes containing a great number of Ash trees some of which are near to public roads, bridleways and footpaths and may pose a risk when they become infected.

The document also outlines the responsibilities and actions expected of local authorities and so it will provide a useful checklist against which our own local authorities’ performance can be monitored.

Please click on this link to access a summary of information from the ‘Toolkit’ that is relevant or of interest to people of our two parishes. Summary of Tree Council Toolkit

You can also download the full Toolkit here: https://www.treecouncil.org.uk/Ash-Dieback

Useful guide to tree pests and diseases

We’ve heard a lot about Ash Dieback Disease, but it’s not the only threat to our trees.

The Observatree project is designed to help us all to look out for and report signs of trouble. They explain:

“Working with the UK Plant Health Risk Group (the group that maintains the UK Plant Health Risk Register), Observatree has identified those pests and diseases which are of the highest concern at the moment. They are the ones:

  • most likely to arrive in the UK

• that have already arrived and we are concerned about their spread

  • which have the potential to cause the most serious and widespread impact on commercial forestry, amenity woodland and ecological systems”

You can find out more and download useful resources including spotters guides at their website at https://www.observatree.org.uk/tree-health/pests-and-diseases/ .

Ash Dieback.

(Posted on behalf of Doug Edworthy, Dallington Tree Warden)

The Tree Council has just published an Ash Dieback Action Plan Toolkit, and it makes sobering reading.

Every landowner should have the opportunity to learn about the impending dieback of their Ash woodland and the costs, financial and otherwise, that landowners will face.

It can be downloaded from the Tree Council’s page

https://www.treecouncil.org.uk/Ash-Dieback

Looking for volunteer tree surveyors

The Woodland Trust is looking for volunteers to take part in the Observatree project which aims to protect the UK’s trees, woods and forests from new pests and diseases.

Volunteers receive training to enable them to correctly identify signs and symptoms of Observatree’s 22 priority pests and diseases as well as carry out effective site surveys

if you are interested, you can find out more at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/opportunities/tree-health-surveyor-various-locations/

Preserve the Dallington Forest POW Tree!

(posted on behalf of our Tree Warden, Doug Edworthy)

The Dallington Forest ‘PoW’ Tree
Photo of POW treeJust inside Dallington Forest, and close to a public bridleway, there is a culturally-important tree that is not well known in the area – perhaps because it is difficult to find without guidance. We have Tree Warden-led walks into the Forest that take in this tree – so come along on the next walk!

As part of the Dallington Forest Project I’m attempting to gather all relevant information together to document it for the benefit of current and future generations before it is lost to the ravages of time and decay.

Known locally as the ‘PoW Tree’ this is a veteran pollarded Beech tree, probably around 250 years old, that is rapidly approaching an untimely end. Much of the interior of the trunk’s base has been hollowed-out by fungi, and the opinion of an experienced arborist is that the trunk will fail catastrophically within the next few years.

The tree gets its name from graffiti carved on its trunk some 3 m off the ground. The inscription (presumably by a prisoner of war from Cologne, Germany) reads: –

TB
KÖLN
1946
P.O.W.

There was a German Prisoner of War Working Camp GPWW 145 situated at Normanhurst Court, Battle, less than 10 miles away, continuing to hold prisoners until 1948.

I understand that the Normanhurst PoW camp supplied labour to the Gypsum Mines at Mountfield and, at the time, much of Dallington Forest was under the management of the Mine. It is not inconceivable that parties of PoWs would have been employed as foresters and, perhaps during a lunch break, one of them climbed the tree to leave his indelible mark for posterity.

Who was ‘TB’? Or was the graffiti artist’s name actually ‘T.B.KÖLN’? Perhaps records could solve the riddle of his identity.

Sadly, I understand that most of the records of the PoW camps’ occupants were destroyed after the war. Was this related to the slow repatriation of Axis forces to German and elsewhere compared to the relatively speedy repatriation of PoWs back to the UK? Is there a darker political secret waiting to be unearthed? It would be interesting to find out.

Before this tree falls and is lost – it could be in a gale this autumn – we have a limited opportunity to document and record this culturally-important tree for posterity.

For example; wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a bark rubbing done of the inscription that could be framed and displayed together with information about the tree and the inscriber in the Brightling and Dallington Village Halls?

And we need urgently a good photographic record to show not just the details of the inscription but the tree in its surroundings and context.

Help from amateur (or professional) archivist and historians would be very welcome to research such records as exist of the Normanhurst Court PoW camp, its occupants and the Gypsum Mine and its management so that we can add more of the human dimension to the history of this tree.

If you would like to help please contact Doug Edworthy, Brightling & Dallington Tree Warden at treewarden@dallington.org.uk

Doug Edworthy
Tree Warden, Brightling & Dallington Parishes
Dallington Forest Project

If you would like to print out this information to share it more widely, you can download it as a PDF flyer here  Dallington PoW Tree

Guided walk in Dallington Forest Monday 7th May

On Bank Holiday Monday 7th May our Tree Warden Doug Edworthy will be conducting a 1-2 hour circular walk in the part of Dallington Forest closest to the village. Nothing too strenuous, though the walk will involve fording a stream, climbing over fallen trees, muddy and slippery paths, and some steep ascents. But, providing they don’t go over too quickly, walkers will experience the sight and scent of beautiful bluebells in an ancient woodland ghyll full of majestic veteran Beech trees,  prehistoric rippled sandstone beds and the Prisoner of War tree.  Afterwards, for anyone who still has the energy and time, Doug may add on another hour or so of circular walk through more ancient woodland and planted forestry illustrating the challenge faced by the remnants of ancient woodland in Dallington forest.

The meeting point is the junction of the Baker’s Lane bridleway with the Glaziers Forge track at 10:30 for a 11:00 departure.  Please note there is virtually no parking for cars so walking there is the best option. If you would like to come, please email Doug at treewarden@dallington.org.uk  so he knows how many people to expect.