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It's that time of year again

smallest birch

Hello B[L]OG Friends ...

Time to break out the pruning saw again as autumn approaches.  Check it’s still sharp ready to go work on the peat bog.  The meadow pipits have flown their nests and there’s no risk of disturbing them by tramping across the peat dome. Now I can walk across the surface to get at the small birch seedlings that have taunted me over the summer. Their days are numbered.

I need the saw to plunge into the peat around the wee trees cutting the horizontal roots.  You might think “Oh there’s a very small tree, let’s just pull it out.” and sometimes that’s what happens.  BUT birch trees are incredibly good at regenerating from just an old root left in the ground.  Or they happily sprout anew after the local roe deer have had their breakfast. That mini tree with a few green leaves can turn out to have a long and wide network of roots.  If you pull too hard and snap off the new stem then the tree will grow again.  During the summer I’ve done a lot of “Himalayan balsam bashing”.  It’s an invasive flowering plant that shares a survival tactic with the birch.  You’ve got to apply just the right amount of pull to the balsam or else its hollow stem will break leaving the roots in the ground.  It has beautiful flowers which the bees love.  So why remove it; surely its good for biodiversity?  Nope.  Trouble is that it is so successful that eventually it will crowd out all the other plants and become super dominant.  Birch trees are of course native to Scotland, it’s just that if they continue to grow on the bog, then the bog will never recover and be lost for ever.

blogged by Lesley

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