Over the past few weeks you may have spotted a teams at work in the wooded copse. We’ve been working to remove Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) trees. The Norway Maple is a non-native tree species and as a result isn’t particularly valuable for our local wildlife. In contrast, native tree species can support a host of species from fungi to invertebrates and birds! Removing these trees will also reduce overcrowding in the copse and help the native species thrive as they will have less competition for light and nutrients.
Autumn is the prefect season to tidy up. With a wet spring and hot summer, brambles and bindweed have been growing vigorously across the farm and scrub has taken over in certain areas. Clearing these areas during Spring and Summer can be tricky as we don’t want to disturb nesting bids. But youngsters will have left by the nest now, so we can now safely cut back. Cutting at this time of year also means we can remove any overgrowth before invertebrates begin to hibernate. After doing an incredible job clearing up our ponds. Team RBS tackled our entrance near Mudchute DLR station and it’s already made a huge difference.
Autumn is one of the busiest times of year for us on our parks and open spaces. Now that young birds have fledged, we can safely cut back hard scrub. We also have a brief opportunity to tidy up our ponds, which can rapidly become overgrown. Many pond species, including frogs and dragonfly nymphs, will spend the winter tucked up in the mud at the bottom of the pond. So we need to make sure we undertake any works ahead of their hibernation. While we are eager to keep a variety of plants around our ponds, the glyceria have taken advantage of the sunshine and warm weather and grown rapidly and taken over much of what was once open water. To tackle the problem, you have to get in the deep end, pulling up plants from their roots and working from the inside of the pond towards the edges. We’re maintaining plants along the perimeter of the pond as these will be important places for emerging damselflies and dragonflies in the spring and summer.
A huge thank you to our corporate volunteer group from RBS who donned wellies and waders and got stuck in to lend a hand! Working with TCV they did a brilliant clearing job. We found resident newts, frogs and countless invertebrates more! Over the next week, we’ll be leaving the removed vegetation at the edges of the pond, so any pondlife that might have gotten caught up in the fray can slip quietly back into the water. But there’s no need to worry about the wildlife, opening open the ponds will improve the habitat for them. In fact, as the team took a quick break for tea, frogs popped up across the pond, dragonflies whirred along the surface and wrens came down from our hedges for a drink. The wildlife may not be able to thank you for your hard work themselves, but we certainly can. Thank you! We couldn’t do it without you. To find out more about volunteering at Mudchute (as a team or an individual) please visit our volunteering page.