March 2023 – Overview of progress to date
There was a bespoke plan for BGI as the site had not been in management for ~5 years and successional woody perennial species were present. We prioritised mapping and baseline sampling of this site so remedial work could be conducted.
Any persistent weeds such as; hawthorn, other tree seedlings, sida, bramble, thistle, dock, nettle and ragwort were spot treated from late spring 2022 with glyphosate. Once glyphosate showed an effect the site was topped.
Fencing to protect planting where required
Deer fencing was erected around the site perimeter in February 2023 to protect the new plantings from the high deer population in the area of the Hub Site.
Standard autumn ground preparation
Once baseline sampling was complete, the site received a glyphosate application to kill the vegetation at the site. All areas were then ploughed. Areas for Miscanthus and other energy grasses were left in plough over winter. Areas for woody species were power-harrowed and winter wheat was established.
The site was monitored over winter and in February and March the following was reported:
- Site sprayed with glyphosate on 4th March. Good cover crop / weed kill was obtained.
- The site is wet due to recent rain, but high stone content means drainage is good.
- Glysophate was applied to the perimeter of deer/rabbit proof fencing and Biomass Connect planting area on Monday 27th March
- The site is ready for hand planting and ground conditions should be ready for machine access after Easter.
- Unfortunately, a badger has tunnelled under the deer fencing, but the good news is we will not have to install a badger gate.
Spring ground preparation
The following amendments are to be made when mechanical access is possible and pre-cultivation:
- Phosphorus (P) levels are low. P2O5 will be applied to address this.
- Potassium (K) levels are also low. K2O will be applied to address this
- The pH of the site is 7.0 which is ideal, so no liming is required.
- The Miscanthus areas may need a second spray if weeds emerge. These areas need to be power-harrowed very close to the planting date. This needs to occur the day before or on the day of planting.
- Pre-emergence spray is to be applied post-planting before buds break on the cuttings. Normally application is possible within 7 days of planting.
- DEMO Plots PG plough, power harrow. The goal is to produce a seed bed suitable to hand sow seeds. Maybe use a disc and power harrow combination.
- SRC Poplar, SRF Demo, SRF Poplar and SRF Eucalyptus plots need no cultivation work. These areas will be hand planted. SRC Poplar area will benefit from pre-emergence sprays.