Guard your investments in woodland
I wrote recently about the difficulties of protecting trees from rabbit and hare damage and suggested some remedies but forgot to mention the one product that I have used for years when planting individual trees around the farm.
It is, of course, those wonderful guards that you slip over the freshly planted sapling and which come complete with a supporting post and cable tie to secure them.
Most of the queries I get are in relation to the protection of young hedges and plantations and, in those instances, where tree numbers are often in their thousands, fencing the entire area with rabbit wire is probably the most economical solution. But for trees planted in small groups or singly, guards are ideal and ensure the plants remain fully protected until they are well established.
Guards are also useful in preventing saplings getting pulled over by bindweed or smothered by nettles and other rampant vegetation.
Guards come in many sizes depending on the animals you wish to protect against, with the larger sizes necessary where deer or sheep can gain access to the planted area.
Wexford firm Kestrel Forestry has an excellent online shop (www.kestrelforestry.ie) with good images of the various guards available. There are also several similar products available from Britain which can be viewed on the internet.
Over the years, I have planted a variety of trees in various field corners and vacant spots where they add to the general diversity and maybe provide a valuable source of income for future generations.