Hub Site Update – Rothamsted Research – North Wyke – October 2023

10 November 2023

October 2023 – Hub Site Updates

  • The ground has become too wet for machinery other than the push-along strimmer. Mowing is therefore now stopped until spring. There is some standing water in places but it is still warm enough for some growth.

Crop reports

SRF Demo Block (Alder and the Black Locust ‘Turbo’ and ‘Turbo Obelisk’)

  • The guards have been removed from half of the SRF Alder following glyphosate application. The second half is still awaiting glyphosate.
  • The SRF Alder is generally healthy but leaves under the guards are necrotic and small. Most have fallen off now where guards have been removed, and buds are starting to break to grow new leaves as the weather is still warm enough.
  • No further wind-rock has been identified in the SRF Black Locust ‘Turbo’ and the plants are all healthy.
  • The SRF Black Locust ‘Turbo Obelisk’ plants are continuing to grow healthily.

SRF Poplar

  • There is some rust on the SRF Poplar but growth is still vigorous.

SRF Eucalyptus

  • The SRF Eucalyptus is healthy. Those which are growing are putting on height quite fast. The good ones are in clear groups; there may have been inconsistent quality or planting which would account for the trees growing less vigorously.
  • E. gunnii are tallest, followed closely by E. nitens.

SRC Poplar

  • There is some rust on the SRC Poplar but growth is vigorous.
  • There is a wide variation in heights despite uniformity of planting and aftercare.

Miscanthus Giganteus

  • The Miscanthus Giganteus is looking good.
  • There is rye grass throughout plot.

Miscanthus Athena

  • The Miscanthus Athena is growing better than the Miscanthus Giganteus except where it has been taken out for replanting.
  • Rye grass throughout plot.
  • The poorly established half of the Miscanthus Athena plot has been sprayed off with Glyphosate, ploughed and left in the furrow ready for a Spring 2024 replanting.

SRC Willow

  • Weeds are starting to get a grip within the SRC Willow plot and need strimming and spraying.
  • The plants are healthy.


  • The large rhizomes all growing and flowering.
  • The small rhizomes all dead bar three small plants.

SRC Willow variety trial

  • Rust, senescence and weed scores done.
  • Numbers for gapping up in Spring 2024 have been submitted.

2023 Miscanthus variety trial

  • Establishment counts have been completed.
  • The plants that have survived planting are starting to look good.

Operational processes undertaken. (Spraying, Topping, Fencing, Grass sowing, Cultivation)

  • Mowing, strimming weeds.
  • Reed Canary Grass sown.
  • 2024 Miscanthus plot, demo grasses plot (where empty), and conservation mix plot all sprayed off with Glyphosate.
  • 2024 Miscanthus plot ploughed.
  • Reed Canary Grass sown in Demo Grasses plot.
  • Conservation mix of grasses and wildflowers sown.
  • It has been too wet for Silphium to be sown. We were considering sowing in pots under glass for later planting out but have been advised against this as it would not be consistent with other sites. We will aim for a  Spring 2024 sow as per the protocol.

October 2023 Photo Gallery from North Wyke

Read more about the Biomass Connect North Wyke Hub Site

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