Monday 10 April 2017

Arbury Road Hedge - Continuing Saga

So we got the wrong mix of hedging plants put in with haste at the arse end of the planting season, which as  result will require lots of watering and will see, if most survive to maturity, a mix that isn't particularly better for wildlife than what we had, isn't really more diverse than what we had, and which doesn't really respect the history or culture of the site.

I've continued to be proactive and tried to get the unde-growth restored (the real, rich biodiversity of a mature hedgerow) but its not looking good. Its been a bodge job from the outset, and I'm worried that'll continue.

Most recent email I've sent them...

Hi ****,

Sounds like a standard 'native mix' and rather like the hedging mix chosen its not really appropriate - I would envisage that many of those species won't thrive (foxglove, red campion, cowslip) especially if the plan is to start this in autumn with, presumably, seed? They'll have no hope of establishing against the background re-growth that will be predominantly cow parsley, chickweed, etc. The site is bare now, if we hope to get things re-established it needs to be before the site is dominated by the most invasive, early colonists - the only way to achieve that would be by spraying in autumn, damaging what has already by that point started to come back. If this is going to be done without wrecking what little has survived, then this is not the way.

Its also not not adding back the species lost, which is a shame especially for those few that were unusual in Cambridge. Sweet cicely for example was an occasional plant in the Southern part of the hedge, and I've only ever found that growing wild in one other location in the City. I'm not anticipating that the whole list we've lost will be replaced but this is an off-the-shelf solution to a problem that can be better readdressed by replacing what we've lost more closely.

Moving some of the soil from the old line of the hedge to the new one won't hurt, thats a good idea. Less of an issue on the Southern end of the hedge I should think, but still worth doing. That will help restore some, but not all, of whats been lost.

Has there been any progress on bat habitat? Whereabouts in the hedge is Cambridge Gage, has it been put in now?


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