Operations are carried out to fulfill the aims of long term management plans for creation, conservation & cultivation of forests & woodlands…
Physical works by hand, machine & plant
Provided by our foresters & contractors
Operations are the physical works of professional foresters, carried out to fulfill the aims of long term management plans for creation, conservation & cultivation of forests & woodlands.
Land & Forest operations are the physical works by our professional forestry teams, working by hand, with specialist equipment, using small off-road vehicles or with large plant machinery.
Our foresters are all professionally qualified and trained for a wide range of operations. A team can spend anything from day to 3 months working on a single site. During that time they need to fulfill as many of the planned work as possible, often between just two foresters.
If a management plan requires pruning, thinning, felling, squirrel control, fencing, ride cutting, spraying, mulching and planting then the team of two must be able to cover it, and they do.
Open ground within woodlands is encouraged to provide variety of habitat. On suitable soils Heathland is the natural state for these open spaces and restoration/management is often the most suitable course of action.
This involves ground works to dis-establish the recent use and restore an environment conducive to heathland flora and fauna.
Forestry Plant & Equipment
Beyond working with hand tools, power tools, rope and other small pieces of forestry equipment we also run large forestry plant machinery to accommodate and scale our range of operations.
The quad bike – Yamaha Kodiak 600 EPS All Terrain Vehicle with CDax spray system & gear trailer
The tree harvester – Komatsu 931.1 operating 360.2 head
The log forwarder – Valmet 860 operating G28 timber grapple on double extension crane
The mulcher – JCB 325t Forestmaster with HD fixed knife Serrat DCR mulcher plus 7t winch & multi-purpose bucket
Burning Up for Ground Preparation
Following felling operations the lop and top (leftover branches & greenery that were cleaned off of the tree) are commonly burnt in situ on the forest floor as part of the ground preparation for restocking with young trees or plugs.
Mulching for Ground Preparation
After felling operations tree stumps are normally left to rot in situ to encourage invertebrates and other insects but some owners prefer them to be mulched to level the ground.
Whilst mulching adds cost it makes for easier and cheaper future vegetation control. On a mulched site bracken growth will be weaked and can be further controlled by Asulox applications leaving a good seed bed for natural regeneration or next stage tree planting.
In the South East Region many of our woodlands are designated ancient or ancient semi natural woodland or PAWS (Planted Ancient Woodland Sites)
These are sites where, through the 1960’s, forestry policy was to clear the semi-natural broadleaf woodland or convert heathland to productive plantations of conifers for production of timber. Most PAWS, even those planted in early 20C, are gradually being restored to a more natural mixed broadleaf canopy and sites that are now ready for felling provide welcome opportunity to reassess species suitability with more recent climate science in mind.
Tree Planting to Restock
Restocking by planting may be part of a woodland creation project, or a step in an existing management plan.
The choice of species to restock with is guided by soil type, owner preference, woodland designation and forester advice for climate change resilience.
Suitability of species to soil type is the most critical factor but where woodland has an Ancient Woodland designation and conifer has been the previous species (PAWS) there is a presumption to restock with Broadleaves. Owners can opt to restock with conifer but are not eligible to claim grant aid.
The quality of transplant and provenance is essential to the long term performance of the stand. We liase with leading tree nursery’s to ensure this quality.
For the first two/three years after planting control of competing ground vegetation is essential. At this point dormant seed banks take advantage of the sudden open canopy.
We use a combination of mechanical cutting and selective herbicide application to control weed growth just enough to enable trees to establish.
We also like to accept suitable naturally regenerated trees into the stand.
Natural Regeneration to Restock
On some sites natural regeneration can prove to be an effective method of restocking. Planning for the natural regeneration of woodland starts with the existing trees still standing and involves the creation of suitable ground conditions and light intensity to encourage germination.
Not every woodland or tree species is suitable for this method and sometimes the most successful examples occur without planning. In our region Scots pine regeneration on lighter soils has been particularly successful.
Ash, Birch and Willow are pioneer broadleaved species that will often quickly colonise an open site from dormant or blown in seed. Heavy seed trees like oak require stand preparation over decades to be successful.
Whilst Natural this method is sadly not free and requires greater management engagement to ensure timely intervention of ground preparation and vegetation control.
Whilst our focus is on management of existing woodland we can provide a full design and establishment service for creating new woodlands.
Fields that are difficult to work or soils inappropriate for agricultural production have potential to be converted to woodland with Woodland Creation Grant support. New applications are scored to ensure new plantings deliver against current national criteria.
Climate change mitigation and the zero carbon economy are huge motivators for tree planting and woodland creation projects. Investment in land & tree planting becomes less speculative as it’s acknowledgemed that land & forests are natural pollution control mechanisms is growing and awareness the value of trees is set to change.
We undertake large scale woodland creation projects. if it’s something you’d like to discuss get in touch with our office via our contact page or contact a forest manager directly via their profile pages.
Tree Pruning, Care & Maintenance
Arboricultural tree work is undertaken for maintenance of tree health, tree retainment (helping trees with problems stay alive) and tree safety.
Land & forest owners and managers have a duty to monitor and maintain trees in their care.
Tree surveys and inspections reveal any requirement for remedial arboricultural work that can be planned in time for the autumn before vulnerable trees are subject to challenging weather conditions.
Read our Josh Diplock’s Tree Inspection blog for more detailed information https://www.englishwoodlandsforestry.co.uk/2019/09/29/tree-inspection-survey-appraisal/
Coppicing woodland understorey is a very satisfying operation reinvigorating hazel and chestnut stools.
Well grown chestnut can be cut commercially and in some woodlands is the dominant silvicultural system.
We encourage owners work with specialist coppice workers to cultivate existing coppice or even create coppice as part of a wider management plan.
Round Timber Marketing & Sales
An essential part of forest management is the conversion to revenue of thinned or mature standing trees efficiently and commercially.
We maintain and cultivate timber markets for a whole range of round timber so that owners can be assured of competitive market prices.
We provide marketing services either as part of our complete project management operation or just as a stand alone service.
The appropriate method of sale depends upon the parcel involved and owners preference. Normally softwood parcels are purchased standing whereas hardwood is best presented at roadside for marketing.
The woodfuel market, incorporating biomass (woodchip) places substantial demand on the UK supply chain and is a potential market for any harvesting works, however we are also seeing a reassuring pull for homegrown hardwoods & some softwood sawlogs.
Our specialist hardwood knowledge enables us to value broadleaf / hardwood parcels accurately. As a rule we do not sell to ourselves, maintaining arms length transactions.
Broadleaved / hardwood firewood remains consistently desirable and therefore generates a local market of it’s own.
Felling, Harvesting, Forwarding & Stacking
An essential part of our forest management service is the felling and harvesting of standing trees, efficiently and commercially.
We undertake legal felling by hand and by machine. Felling can be for individual trees, for thinning operations or for clearfell of plantations.
Conifer species are mainly felled to be sold for woodfuel, chipwood, shaving bar, fencing and log mills. We can respond to short term market demands and specifications.
Our consistent engagement with these markets ensures that owners can benefit from this accumulated market contact without having to engage individually.
Broadleaf species for milling are a more specialist market and we are able to draw upon our expertise as hardwood millers to maximise value. Most Broadleaves are felled by hand, as are larger dimension conifers or redwoods.
We rarely purchase hardwood timber from woodland we manage, preferring to market it to others or indeed by conducting formal tenders.
Our ability to measure, grade and value hardwood parcels is however a valuable available service.
Our Foresters are fully trained and skilled at hand tree felling and are able to tackle large dimension hardwoods and small diameter thinnings.
We operate our own Valmet Harvester and Forwarder to ensure quality of operations and control of work programming. At times of high demand we are able to draw upon other local contractors experienced in this work.
Our operators are fully trained Forest Machine operators and skilled in clearfells, first and intermediate thinnings.
Invasive Species Control
The control of plants such as Rhododendron, Bracken and Himalayan Balsam is important to maintain the natural biodiversity of our woodlands.
Rhododendron is a particularly damaging plant casting heavy shade and soil acidification that denies any other plant. It has also been linked to phytopthera infections in oak and larch.
It also brings with it invasive insect species native to the plant in it’s country of origin.
With dense and heavy colonisations we have found the most effective method is to grub and burn; removing as much root as possible reduces regrowth. This is followed up by application of herbicide to the regrowth 18 months later.
Rhododendron Control is supported through Woodland Improvement Grants.
Bracken is a pernicious plant that prevents tree regeneration and is detrimental to natural woodland ground flora. Control is best effected through application of a selective herbicide, Asulox, often over a couple of years. Where bracken litter is dense, scraping off back to the mineral soil is recommended.
Himalayan Balsam spreads along watercourses dramatically changed this riparian habitat. Control through cutting and glyphosate application is recommended.
Squirrel, Rabbit & Deer Control
Protecting trees from animal browsing is an important element of forest management. Deer, squirrels, rabbits and hare have the ability to devastate hectares of planting of young and mature trees alike.
Broadleaves are often protected against rabbits, hares and deer with tree shelters. There is a second benefit to shelters as the microclimate of the shelter can enhance early growth reducing the maintenance period. Each site is assessed to determine the most suitable shelter.
Conifers are planted at higher density so costs of individual protection usually prove prohibitive unless the site is small so temporary rabbit or deer netting has proven to be a cost effective method to protect against browsing.
Grey squirrel control is an unfortunate but essential part of tree protection. As yet another non-native species their behaviour has adversely affected our population of native red squirrels and broadleaf trees.
In harvesting the acorns of our beloved quercus robur grey squirrels cleverly bite out the radicle (the part of the seed that roots) so that when they hoard them, they stay dormant and never create shoots. The effect of this has meant that the natural generation and re-generation of our native oak tree has become much reduced.
As well as this they strip the bark of mature trees and leave them vulnerable to disease, weakening and eventually dying. Squirrels also predate on nests of native and migrating woodland birds.
Hence the work on the humane and legal control of grey squirrel numbers in our woodlands that forms part of our tree protection work.
Pond & Lake Restoration & Creation
Many land & forest management sites incorporate streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.
Having worked on many historic sites across the south east of England we have experience in ornamental pond and fishing lake creation and restoration as well as historic moat restoration.
Forest Infrastructure Restoration & Creation
Many woodlands lack proper roads, rides and timber loading points to enable production of standing timber to roadside.
Through our woodland surveys we can identify the most suitable routes and specification and then carry out the improvement.
Woodland Rides well managed not only present woodlands very well but provide valuable internal edge habitat.
Good woodland infrastructure adds capital value to woodlands and infrastructure improvement is supported through the Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant.
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