October 2005

The calculations are now done for the survival rate of the Big Field planting done in December 2004. My thanks to Karin and Mike who helped to count (not a small task!) and to Matt who helped collate the information.

There have been so few losses that they hardly count. Surviving trees 8274. Dead 279. Therefore the loss is only 3.26%. This is less than either of the other two fields: the first field (Oat Field) lost 7.16% over two years, the second field (Rye Field) lost 9.75% in its first summer. Neither of these were counted in summer 2005 because so much time was spent counting Big Field and controlling the thistles. For the purposes of this exercise it is assumed that there have been no further losses in those two fields.

In summary, therefore, there are 15,444 live trees and shrubs across the three fields. That number has come as rather a shock to me because I was calculating a survival of less than 15,000 to comply with the Forestry Commission requirements. The extra trees were to allow for a death rate pro rata in the Big Field – which did not happen! The field is therefore overfull and I have some holly trees to add this winter as prospective infill. Fortunately – or unfortunately - there have not been enough deaths to provide the spaces!

It seems a little strange to not be rushing round at this time of year, preparing canes, watching the weather, checking plans. I still have to do that for the infill plants, but they are such a small number that neither the planning nor the planting will take more than a few hours. And to think that, at this time last year, I was becoming desperate because time was running out, there was no sign of ground preparation possible and I was wondering how on earth I was going to do the task at all! But then the weather was favourable and my wonderful helpers turned up and we did it!!!!