Institute members discuss tree shelters at Castle Howard

The Institute’s North England Regional Group held a one-day conference on 6 July at the magnificent Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, organised by Simon Place MICFor and Jim Smith. The purpose of the day was two-fold: to discuss the prospect of establishing woodlands and trees without the use of tree shelters where possible (plastic or bio material) and looking at the estate’s bio tree shelter trial, along with other aspects of the estate woodlands.

The morning session comprised a number of talks from guest speakers including Castle Howard’s Estate Manager, Guy Thallon, who described the estate and their plans for the future. Arman Siddiqui from the Forestry Commission joined to discuss the opportunities for grant aid in relation to deer control and the benefits to the woodland in the long term, and Mike Appleton from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust explained the attitudes to tree shelters in the Yorkshire Dales and the current tree guard recycling schemes. Chartered Forester, Simon Place MICFor, from High Grains Forestry gave the owner’s perspective of using tall tree shelters and spoke about long-term issues with tree shelters and the need for the industry to get back to basics and look for opportunities to plant without any kind of shelter where feasible. James Shallcross from the Forestry Commission spoke about the latest grants and the session was rounded off with an open Q&A, which stimulated some excellent discussion on tree shelters, deer control and the estate in general.

After lunch, the group headed through the estate on the tractor-trailer people carrier, which was fun in itself, with Guy pausing to explain aspects of the management regime. The first main stop was the estate tree nursery, where they are collecting local seeds for use on the estate and also to sell on for local use. Nursery expansion plans are afoot and this is seen as an important aspect of the estate’s development. A brief pause at the neighbouring Arboretum then on to the field trial site of the current ‘bio’ tree shelters, set up with funding assistance from The Howardian Hills AONB to evaluate the differing products.

The weather was very kind to the group and some good discussions were had among the attendees and the presenters resulting in a very worthwhile event. Thanks to Castle Howard for hosting us and the all the speakers for their time and expertise.

– Simon Place MICFor

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