Hedgerow planting at Bradenham as part of the Chalk, Cherries, Chairs project – March 2021

There’s a fair amount of controversy surrounding governments looking to plant hundreds of thousands of trees in a bid to fight climate change and solve the biodiversity crisis…. But nothing is ever that simple.  We spent a back-breaking (but terrifically fun!) two days ‘rescuing’ a hedgerow that was newly planted by another organisation last year – an excellent initiative to replace a habitat that has suffered a 50% loss since the end of WW2 (depending what source you check).  Last year we then had one of the driest and warmest springs on record and with the country in lockdown, there was nobody to provide any aftercare whatsoever.  And here lies the problem in planting trees as a solution.  We can’t just plant thousands of trees in the ground and leave them unattended, thinking we have done our bit to solve the climate change crisis.  The expense comes from the time and care it takes to establish new trees and we must never forget the mantra of right tree, right place, right reason from The Woodland Trust.
We took a small but mighty team of volunteers to a private site near Bradenham for 2 days and here’s a short breakdown of what 8 people achieved over two days:
  • 270 metres of hedgerow were replanted
  • Of approximately 1350 plants, 60% had failed meaning we replanted about 810.

Scroll through the photos of the day below.

Ashley and Jacob checked and collected tree guards from 645 metres of newly planted hedge and cleared up the ones strewn about the fields. They worked so hard.  Cardboard guards, although biodegradable, do not work, sadly, so we had to replace them with plastic guards to give the plants a chance. This is a natural environment where deer, badgers, and rabbits will want to eat the new growth! We have to weigh up the pros and cons here.
You will notice from the photos that we ‘mulched’ just 25 metres of the 270m we replanted. That was 25 heavy bags of it plus we need to transport it, another logistic to overcome.  As you can see, planting is not a simple and easy task but it is a necessary one if we are going to fight both climate change and loss of wildlife.
The landowner we worked for wants things to change which is why he’s part of the Landscape Connections project.  We are lucky that we live in an area where we all really care about our natural environment and we all want the same outcomes so do come out and help us!