The planting continues at the Biomass Connect Hub Site. Last week, Energy Crops Consultancy (ECC) planted a 6-way mix of SRC willow at the BGI Hub Site. They used their 2-row planter which is perfect for smaller sites. They do have a larger 4-row planter which allows for higher throughput planting in bigger fields.
Despite the flinty soil at BGI, David and Giles of ECC made quick work of the planting. They randomly mixed the 2m planting rods to create a mixture of willow varieties. They feed the planting rods into the machine which then cuts the rods into 20 cm portions and planted them in the ground at a regular spacing. The step planter can be configured to plant at different row spacing – but we went for a 1.5 m and 0.75 m twin-row design with 0.59 m spacing within rows to give a planting density of 15,000 -16,000 plants per ha.
After planting the site will be Cambridge rolled and then pre-emergence herbicides will be applied to prevent the germination of weed seeds. These need to be applied between planting and willow bud emergence. At this time of year, this will be between 5-7 days.