Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow
Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow
‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ and we have many fine oaks in the Parish. The recent decision to remove two of the immature oaks on the Upper Orchid Field has prompted some questions on the best ways to promote and enhance biodiversity. So, first some thoughts on the oak tree. They take around 150 years to mature and produce a good crop of acorns at which point they will typically have a girth of around 3 metres 50 cms. An oak with a circumference of 5 metres will be about 300 years old and take us back to the reign of George l. The oaks being removed on the Upper Orchid Field varied between 70cms and 110cms.
Wenvoe has many oaks, whether you are looking in the school playground or wandering around the Playing Fields. There are some good-sized oaks still left in and around the new Grange development. The best collection are on the fields either side of the road to the Golf Club where there are around 20 in a typical Capability Brown landscape. Not that Capability Brown was ever involved but his son–in-law, Henry Holland, did work on the design and development of parts of Wenvoe Castle. The girth of some of these trees would put them at 200-300 years old. The Wildlife Group will be measuring and surveying these trees and recording them on the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Register – this does not guarantee their survival but increases the chances of the wider community at least being aware of them. There are two types of native oak – the English and Sessile oak. The former is the main one to be found here and is distinguished by having the acorn on a short stalk. The Sessile Oak has a stalkless acorn although, just to complicate matters, they can hybridise so the tree you are looking at could be a bit of both.
The oak tree can support a wider range of wildlife than any other native tree so plays an important part in the ecology of an area. However two oak trees will not have twice the variety of species as one although it may well have double the volume of them. To increase the range of species in an area it is necessary to plant a range of different tree varieties each of which will attract a number of species which favour that type of tree. Many species are almost exclusive to a particular tree-type, such as the White Letter Hairstreak on Elms or the Four-spot Lift Moth on Dogwood. It is difficult to estimate how many trees we have lost just in the last ten years but road-widening, housing development and natural ageing will have accounted for several hundred. Whilst some losses are inevitable it is noteworthy that there is little evidence of any plans to replace them in this parish by the local authorities.
On the positive side a number of residents have been planting trees whether as individual trees, fruit trees or hedgerow and these include donated packs from the Woodland Trust. The Wildlife Group have planted 190 trees this year, including 15 Oaks, and including many varieties that, although native, are probably not found in the area at the moment such as Black Poplar, Aspen and Purging Buckthorn. It is planned that the Upper Orchid Field will have 30 native tree species growing by the Summer of this year which will make it almost unique locally. We do have our wonderful parks such as Bute and Roath but most of the trees are non-native specimen trees. Tree walks will be held once the trees are in leaf and a Tree Trail is being developed for the Upper Orchid Field.