On Sunday the 1st of December the residents of North Cheam came together to help Sutton Council plant over 200 saplings in Fairlands Park.
The area separating the Goals Soccer Centre from the park is populated by a few scattered trees but could be improved; in order to make a better visual barrier and also enhance the wildlife value of the area, we would plant a thicker line of new saplings between the existing trees. Four hundred native saplings including hawthorn, field maple, blackthorn, hazel and dogwood were ordered thanks to funds from the Worcester Park Local Area Committee and on Sunday we set about planting them.
The event started at 10.30am and it wasn’t long before the first family came to get stuck in, who were swiftly followed by more and more local residents excited to help out. Fortunately, the ground was soft and the trees small, so it was very simple getting each one into the ground. First a ‘T’ shaped slit is cut 3 or 4 inches into the ground, the roots are then carefully pushed under the turf and packed with a couple of handfuls of compost. The turf is then placed back and compressed before sticking a bamboo cane parallel to the stem and sliding a protective spiral tree guard over them both. This helps protect the young tree and encourage it to grow straight and vertical.
Everyone, from young children and families, to older residents, helped out, and they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Many of the children didn’t want to leave! After a decrease in numbers after midday, a second wave of enthusiastic volunteers arrived and managed to complete the planting in the proposed area with much glee. With the sun beginning to wane and the temperature dropping, we eventually called it a day and packed up, pleased with the work we had done.
With roughly 250 trees planted, 150 were left over. They would not last long without soil and water and so we decided to return on Wednesday to plant the rest. With most people at work and children at school, we had to manage with just two of us.
However we completed the objective and hopefully in the next few years our hard work will have paid off and, with over 300 new native trees, Fairlands Park will have a nice natural border and be a better place for our local wildlife.
Matt Pendry & Patricia Arcenegui
Biodiversity Project Officers