The Art Of Ground Preparation

The Art Of Ground Preparation

Published September 4, 2023

Here in the UK, tree planting season spans from December to April, our team are busy with ground preparations ahead of planting. A lot of background work needs to take place before the ground is ready for the new saplings to be planted. We want to ensure that every tree we plant has the best possible chance to thrive and become part of our nature-rich forests of the future.  At our Future Forest Company reforestation sites, we are busily making preparations for the tree planting to begin… 

Choosing Sustainable Methods

Preparing the ground for planting is a critical stage in any woodland creation project. We focus on sustainable ground preparation methods, in order to preserve soils and minimise disturbance. However, choosing a sustainable ground preparation technique requires balancing a wide range of factors. Our forestry team find practical ways to implement the ground preparation across a variety of soil and vegetation types and terrain, whilst also factoring in the accessibility of the site to machinery. 

What are the benefits?

Ground preparation is a key part of establishing new woodlands. We aim to create a raised, weed-free planting position which brings multiple benefits including:

  • Preventing weed vegetation, tall grasses and bracken from competing with trees for nutrients or even smothering them during the winter.
  • Improving aeration on soils that are prone to water-logging 
  • Increasing fertility by mixing the organic and mineral layers of soil which improves nutrient availability
  • Clarifying the planting positions which helps the planters to clearly see where the trees are to go and makes the planting design easier to deliver

All of these factors increase sapling survival rates and decrease the subsequent maintenance needed to establish healthy trees. 

What is mounding?

Our team adopt multiple ground preparation techniques to allow for the greatest rate of survival. Forestry is both a science and an art! At our Pleasantfield site, the team are working alongside specialist contractors to carry out a mixture of continuous and hinge mounding. 

Continuous mounding

A continuous mounder is pulled behind a tractor creating a series of dollops which we then plant on. It’s a more environmentally friendly approach than traditional ground preparation techniques like ploughing as it disturbs far less soil and causes fewer issues with diffuse pollution.

Hinge mounding

This is when an excavator is used to turn over the surface layers of the soil and then place the soil next to the hole that it came out of. The topsoil layers are then doubled over, and a pit is left beside the mound. This tends to be used in more challenging areas of the site.

How you can help

You can choose to plant a tree with The Future Forest Company today and contribute to the growth and preservation of our sustainably planted and managed UK forests. You will be supporting forest restoration and helping to preserve our vital forest ecosystems. All the trees we plant are native broadleaf species as part of our sustainable reforestation across the UK. We always plant the right tree, in the right place.

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