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Woodland island garden deer resistant plants

Woodland island garden deer resistant plants



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Woodland island garden deer resistant plants - part 2

Here is a second part of a series of articles designed to highlight plants that can be used to protect and promote forest garden, wildlife and water habitats on small woodland islands.

Many woodland islands are surrounded by grassy swards, sometimes a few hundred metres wide. This is where the forest garden is often planted. However, these areas can also be used for the conservation of wildlife on the islands. To achieve this, the presence of habitat on the island is essential. Grassland may be a suitable alternative for the conservation of deer and hares, but for birds the trees and shrubs of the forest garden will provide a suitable habitat. If you can plant on a bare island, a small forest garden will certainly enhance the ecological value of the site.

Many woodland islands have trees, but not much undergrowth. In this situation, you can create a microclimate. This will be more important for the winter survival of plants than you might expect, but will provide a good habitat for bees and other beneficial insects.

The presence of trees will also help keep the water in the soil, providing a water source for ponds, ponds for fish, and streams for water features.

Trees can also act as windbreaks and, if you live in a cold or windy climate, be windbreaks.

If the island is too small to develop into a water garden, there are other ways to utilise the trees. The trees can provide shelter for wildlife, and, if the island is not accessible, offer it a degree of protection. For example, on an island in the river Lee, just above New Holland, there is an island of birch and willow with a single beech tree. It is not a large island, but it is well-protected from the wind by the trees. It is a good location for nesting birds.

Plants that can be used to protect woodland island wildlife

Forest garden - trees

Beech ( _Fagus sylvatica_ )

Birch ( _Betula_ spp.)

Hazel ( _Corylus avellana_ )

Willow ( _Salix_ spp.)

Wych elm ( _Ulmus glabra_ )

Wych elm ( _Ulmus glabra_ )

Wych elm ( _Ulmus glabra_ )

Birch

Birch

Birches and willows

Birch

Birch

Blackthorn ( _Prunus spinosa_ )

Honeysuckle ( _Lonicera_ sp.)

Honeysuckle ( _Lonicera_ sp.)

Honeysuckle ( _Lonicera_ sp.)

Trees

Firs

Pines

Redwoods

Willows

Fences

Picket

Chain link

Metal fence

Wire mesh fence

Wooden fence

Dangerous animals

Beavers

Coypu

Foxes

Rabbits

Rats

Rats

Rats

Beavers

Wolves

Pheasants

Pheasants

Pheasants

Pheasants

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs

Bats

Voles

Woodland island wildlife and your garden

A woodland is an important part of your local landscape. It supports a wide variety of plant species that are important for a healthy environment and a richly diverse range of wildlife, from worms and spiders to hedgehogs and birds.

Most woodland wildlife live in the canopy of the trees, which is where we are most likely to find them. For example, red squirrels and woodland bats are among the most recognisable animals in woodland but are nocturnal and rarely seen at ground level, although this will change with the onset of winter. They are, however, visible as they skitter through the upper canopy of the trees. The same applies for the birds that nest in trees, such as woodpeckers and tits. They may be seen in the canopy or, if they have young, they may nest lower down on the trunk of the tree. In fact, birds of all species in the UK have been recorded as nesting in trees, including wrens, nuthatches, woodpigeons and many others.

One of the things that make woodland a special place is that it is largely undisturbed, at least in the traditional sense. This is where the woodland edge meets the open, giving you the opportunity to see a different type of woodland and wildlife. At the other side of the woodland, the far edge, you will find the edge of a field. It might look wild but it is often farmed and therefore not undisturbed. As this side is less of a focus in this book, I will concentrate on the woodland edge, although many of the ideas can be transferred to the far edge.

If you are an arborist, keep an eye out for trees that need pruning and take it upon yourself to do so. You will most likely be aware of some of the native woodland plants and trees that have not always had their needs attended to and so you might be surprised at the number of dead trees and plants around the edge of the woodland.These plants will look just like those in the woods, in fact, many are identical and a large part of the fun of identifying the different species of trees and plants is in knowing the differences between them. The most striking difference between the woodland and the edge of the woodland is that there is an increasing number of alien plants growing in the woodland, whereas the edge is full of plants from around the world. Take the opportunity to look around you and the edge of the woodland carefully. The next time you visit the woods look in particular for those trees and plants that look different. Perhaps a new species has moved into the woodland and has not been recognized yet. It might be the first record in the local area. If there is a plant that you don't recognize it might be worth leaving it as a mystery until a future visit.

Planting the edge of the woods

Although woodland edges have their own habitats, it is important to treat them as different from the woodland, partly to prevent them from taking over. The edge is the transition zone between wild and managed, and so it is important to take on board what the woodland can teach you and to try and apply it to your edge. Think about what you see growing in the woods and how you can use those plants in the woodland edge. I am a great fan of growing grasses. I would never have thought to grow them in the woodland, but having said that, they are not at all harmful, so what have you got to lose? You can have some of your plants in the woodland and some out of it, and you can even grow an 'artificial' woodland edge on your woodland, by growing a few species that are very easy to look after in that setting. Some of the more obvious plants to grow in the woodland and edge are:

Hedge nettle: This is an attractive, spreading plant with beautiful heart-shaped leaves. Nettle is a good forage plant, it fixes nitrogen in the soil and is rich in minerals, so it is great for the woodland edge and for a woodland garden.

Nettles: Many people in the past have grown nettles for use in teas and as a condiment. If you haven't seen nettles growing then look out, they are really easy to grow