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

20 October 2023

September 2023 – Hub Site Updates

  • The weather this month was typical September weather. It was warm, but the soil has softened and is moist.
  • All fences have been checked this month. A hare got in for a while then got out again. There was no noticeable grazing damage though.
  • Emergence – all the trials have a few gaps/losses, besides the ones in the report. SRC Poplar: the top row lost several plants to glyphosate.

Crop reports

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

  • Alder: The leaves under the plastic spiral guards are stunted, necrotic and diseased. The guards have been left on as they protect against glyphosate.
  • There are no other problems with the Alder. The trees are generally growing well. However, the spiral guards continue to be a bit of a check to the growth of the smaller plants.
  • The SRF Black Locust ‘Turbo’ is looking good. These plants have great vigour. The weeds have been strimmed twice and treated once. General health is good.
  • About a third of the Black Locust ‘Turbo Obelisk’ are starting to grow more swiftly now. General health looks good. Hand weeding has been carried out around these.

SRF Poplar

  • The SRF Poplar is looking very good. It is easy to mow and spray around due to the tall stems and spiral guards. There are no leaves low down on the trees so in this case the guards can stay on indefinitely.

SRF Eucalyptus

  • 2/3rds of the SRF Eucalyptus are still to grow above the guards.
  • It’s possible that the ‘T’-Notch planting technique might have slowed the plants’ establishment down and they might have done better if planted with an auger or by digging.
  • The E. nitens are doing particularly well even though they suffered the most losses just after planting.

SRC Poplar

  • The SRC Poplar looks very good. The team have mowed between plants where they’re too close to spray.

Miscanthus Giganteus

  • The Miscanthus Giganteus is looking good. Broadleaved weeds were successfully treated this month. Perennial Rye Grass is getting away now but the crop plants are also doing well. Miscanthus Nurseries have made two visits and they’re happy with how things are progressing.

Miscanthus ‘Athena’

  • Half of the Miscanthus Athena plot looks similar to the Miscanthus Giganteus, the other half has been sprayed off and will be prepped for replanting in spring.

SRC Willow trial

  • Some of the SRC Willow plants are already 2.8m tall.
  • The SRC Willow trial has much better growth than the willow in the variety trial plot. The only difference is that we harrowed the 6-way trial plot just before planting so it was a well-cultivated bed. The variety trial cuttings were pushed into holes made in hard clay.


  • One more Sida plant has emerged where the small rhizomes were planted, making four.
  • All the larger Sida rhizomes have come up and are growing away.
  • All are healthy.

SRC Willow variety trial

  • There is not much weed competition in the willow variety trial plot as we didn’t cultivate, but there is not as much vigour as with the 6-way mix, even though the same varieties are found in both plots.

2023 Miscanthus variety trial

  • The Miscanthus variety trial plot is very patchy despite the fact that we’re now on top of the weed control. There is no consistency between patches of the same variety.
  • The team hopes to be able to gap up this plot as it is thought that the conditions, not the varieties, led to difficulties.

September 2023 Photo Gallery from North Wyke

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