Wednesday, 3 September 2008

August; Into Autumn

The signs of autumn are more noticeable with chestnuts falling in soft spined cases along with green acorns and hazel nuts. The area that was coppiced last winter has shown good growth over the summer with both the chestnut and brambles doing well (hopefully the brambles will become less vigorous as the chestnuts shade them out over the next few years). There are more fungi now ‘fruiting’, the most common seems to be earthballs which are browny yellow as they mature towards sporing (I originally thought all fungi that shape were puffballs until I bothered to look in a book, I then discovered that these were earthballs which are poisonous unlike puffballs which are edible). On a charred stump (where we had a bonfire last winter) there is a fungus that looks a bit like white popcorn (but I couldn’t find it in my fungi book). There were a few butterflies fluttering about in the glade and also in the area we coppiced, plus a couple of hawker dragonflies too. The summer has also seen plenty of growth of the bracken in the glade, so I gave that another bashing; the difference from last year is noticeable as the diversity of plants is already increasing. The glade is still a bit too shaded now the trees leaves are full and this autumn’s work will include widening it to allow more light in next summer. I am also considering ring barking a mature oak on the edge of the glade; this will have the double benefit of making the glade sunnier (better for flowers and butterflies, etc) but also provide a decent contribution of standing deadwood which is a habitat feature that is rare in this woodland.

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