Development of mixed plantation

I have been busy over the last two years now and then hacking away at a 15 year old mixed plantation in the hope of developing a productive stalking ground within seconds of my back door. the plantation comprises oak, alder, hybrid larch and sitka spruce. Some efforts have obvious advantages such as clearing patyhways for access, others such as brashing and high pruning are less obvious in their benefits.

Species present are sika and fallow.

My efforts to date have included;

Path & fire break clearance
Brashing & high pruning of larch (to improve grass beneath)
Cutting back tall impassable bramble
Extension with new planting on adjacent land (got to be good)
Increasing willow by pushing in cuttings obtained nearby
Introducing understory shrubs by planting hazel and holly
Planting crab apple in more open areas as with willow for food value
Applying fertiliser and lime to grassy areas

I would really appreciate hearing of the practical benefits by anyone who has put the effort into these areas. Also is there anything else I should be doing.

Monkey Spanker

Well-Known Member

Sounds like a great project! Have you looked at whether or not you are entitled to claim any money to help you improve things?
I'm not sure which side of the border you are seeing as you have Sika and Fallow but no Reds I would think you must be in England?? :confused:
The English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) might be worth a look through as it enables you to get wedges of money with a portion of it dedicated to deer management. :)
Ahh! Just seen your introduction post which explains why you have Fallow and Sika. I'm not sure what schemes there are in the 'Emerald Isle' but I'm sure somebody on here will.

Paul 600

Well-Known Member
Hi FB, as monkey spanker says there could be money in the WIGS( Woodland Initiative grant Scheme), be aware one of the pre-requisites is public access and local amenity value! having just read the last reply I am not sure what system your Govt has, the Forestry Commission is a Govt body set up in 1919 but i am sure Ireland is not included!

As for your work in the wood I would definitely say contact the appropriate authority as you may well need a felling license or its equivalent?

if you are trying to encourage the under story it is a simple matter of allowing in light. if you fell small pockets to let the light in the under story will take off and pretty soon you will have wild flowers, grasses, shrubs and eventually the pioneer species of trees will move back in! Planting willows and Hazel without removing the canopy is futile. They will never develop fully without light!

I presume your Alders are near water or wet ground? planting willows here would be very easy and allow quick coverage.

Conifers will create an acidic soil so whatever you do the soil will always be acidic.

You could try sowing a wild grass and clover mix on the rides and fire breaks to encourage growth and deer to feed on them.

Hope this helps?

Nix Niveus

Well-Known Member
I see you're in Ireland. Dont know much about the Irish Forestry Service but these links might be useful:

You'll know by now that one man working alone is unlikely to be able to hit their felling allowance, cutting a tree is one thing - processing is another and its a slow job.

You might also try searching for the UK Forestry Commision Information Notes FCIN29, 40(revised), and 45 which will help with your transformation to broadleaf.

The only other thing is find out whch woodland classification type you have e.g. W9, W11,W17 based on soild type, elevation and latitude. The FC publish guides on which species will take best for each.