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REPORTS OF TREE MUSKETEERS' EVENTS IN 2017
New Year's Day Guided Walk in Abney Park Cemetery LNR
Led by Russell Miller.
About 70 people attended the walk on a rainy, chilly January afternoon! Russell talked about woodland edge management then moved on to veteran trees and species of oak and their hybrids, many from the original 1840 planting by the renowned Loddiges Nursery of Hackney. Abney at that time, planted as an arboretum, had more species than Kew Gardens.
  Thanks to all who attended and to Russell for another inspiring tour. Thanks also to all who purchased our Hackney Trees Calendar for 2017 afterwards - there was a very brisk trade, and we have nearly sold out.
Tree Musketeer Action day Jan 21st 2017 - Planting trees on Hackney Downs
Tree Musketeers planted  eleven trees on Hackney Down for the 13th successive year on Saturday 21st   January 2017.
  Three white walnut trees (Juglans regia) were planted adjacent to the orchard on the other side of the path going towards the railway line. They were planted in a triangle keeping to the Victorian tradition.
  An apricot tree (Prunus armenica) was planted in the orchard.
  One rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) was planted to replace a rowan that died in a group of three rowans planted a few years ago. This one is a bit smaller so hopefully will survive.
  We planted an Aesculus  subspecies  pavia or red buckeye; a North American chestnut closely related to the horse chestnut tree.  This was to replace one of two recently felled horse chestnut trees.  This is the second of this species planted on the Downs.
  On the south west corner near the entrance close to three giant redwood trees we planted several years ago, we planted an atlas cedar (Cedrus  atlantica). This was planted as a 'statement tree' that will be seen on entrance to the park. This tree was grown up in the Tree nursery for over ten years and will now get a chance to expand itself more!
  We planted two great white cherry trees (Prunus Tai Haku) in a row along the path going towards Stormont house. One tree was planted as a 'memorial' tree by Paddy and David Evans. A Prunus Okame , a pink flowered cherry tree was also planted close to the tennis court. This is also the first of its species, like the great white cherry trees planted on the Downs. The two great white cherry trees were grafted at the tree nursery. This may be one of the first grafted trees we have planted.
  Lastly we planted an Apple (Malus) seedling tree grown from seed in the south east corner where there is shade. This tree has a particularly pink coloured bark and has great coloured pink white flowers in spring which will brighten that area. The tree was planted to celebrate Grace, a Tree musketeer volunteer who unfortunately was unable to be there. It was also her birthday. She will be taken to see it when she feels better.
  Some of the trees planted were grown from seed and others grafted or donated to the Tree nursery and then brought on in the work days at the Hackney Community Tree Nursery by volunteers.
 The sun shone and it was dry.
  Thanks to : Sam, Lucia, Natalie, Alison, Luke and toddler Luke, Steve, Paddy and David, Ita, Nicila, Joe, Bay, Stephanie, Tony, Russell and Eugene.
  Thanks too to Tom Campbell (tree officer), Russell , Tony and Eugene for planning the planting sites and preparation.
 
Tree Musketeer Action Day February 4th 2017 - Planting trees on Stoke Newington Common
Tree Musketeers planted seven trees on Stoke Newington Common on Saturday. This was planned and carried out in partnership with Stoke Newington Users Group. Since the late '90s, we have planted over eighty trees on the common!
All but one, were planted on the South Common, east of Rectory Road. The new trees are:
 *  two wild cherries (prunus avium), one on either side of the path from Brooke Road.
 *  two oaks (Quercus robor) amongst the shrubbery alongside the railway line. This involved clearing away the shrubbery, to get access to the planting area. Much of this was briars and thorns that made it particularly hard work, but it was done in a relatively short time, thanks to the volunteers who were in there with their goggles and gloves on!
*   two broad-leafed cockspur thorn (Crateagus prunifolia) near the north entrance and the 73 bus stand. This was particularly hard and took a few attempts, as we found a lot of hard brick and concrete once we started digging and the soil is heavy clay. And it was raining. Shelagh and Olga worked really hard on this site. But it was managed, and now two new cockspur thorn trees are growing there, the first of this species to be planted on Stoke Newington Common.
*  a field maple (Acer campestre) was planted on East Common along the path and opposite the playground.
 Several trees needed two guards. We were able to re-use a guard from a tree planted over ten years ago that subsequently died. It was fun (hard work) removing it.
 It rained early on and then stopped and later we had sunshine, catching the South Common beautifully as we were finishing, as if it was thanking us - maybe it was!.
 Thanks to Russell, Tom Campbell (LBH tree officer) and Berni (SNUG) for planning this planting and to Daven and others at LBH for transporting the trees, posts and guards.
 Thanks to Marley (who planted his first tree? - a wild cherry); to his grandmother Ivy who planted one of the oaks; to  Nick, Tony, Gillian, Olga and her daughter, Stephanie, Shelagh, Sheila, Suzy, Pete, Berni and Eugene.

Report on Well Street Common tree watering April 18th and 11th 2017
All trees on Well St Common have been watered at least once recently. The big London plane and Walnut tree in the centre of the centre triangle were given 30 litres each two weeks ago. In the past two weeks Nicila, a local resident to WSC and TM volunteer has been watering the trees inside the triangle, and maybe others. I suggested she concentrate on those inside for now. Last week Tuesday 18th we watered all the trees outside the triangle; the seven oaks, London plane, Field maples, and Elm. One hawthorn planted late 2015 that looked slightly dry was given 20 litres.
All the trees here are looking good. Many need to be re-mulched. Two trees the Elm and Field maple planted close on south toward path have had their leaders snapped (vandalism) but are ok. It appears to have happened some time ago and should not affect the growth.
We used the new trailer from Mary's that worked well. The storage of 5 litre containers needs thinking about as the original place where stored is no longer viable for various reasons. Caroline also told us of a local resident who faces the common has a water tap installed in front of his house to water the shrubs recently planted north of the common. She will let us know if it is possible for us to use it. The central fountain is not bad as there is strong flow from it.
Thanks to: Bobbi, Caroline and Eugene. And to Mary for use of her garden to store the trolley.
24th April 2017 EC

Report on TM Action Day Millfields North Tree Watering 23rd April 2017
Tree Musketeers watered all of the newly planted trees on North Millfields this morning into early afternoon. T he sun shone and many people engaged in chat and even helping.
We watered the trees through lifting water with a bucket and mop bucket with strings into 5 litre containers. This was relatively easy whilst being careful being on the edge of the platform. All trees received at least 20 litres of water many receiving 30 or more. Two trees a Picea on north east area was watered with about 100 litres as it showed some signs of dryness a weeks ago. (It was given 75 litres when this was noticed).
The Scotch pine Memorial tree for Fiona's father was watered by his family; wife, daughters and grandchildren that was an event for the family and the rest of us. The tree got over 100 litres of water and a good spraying. His granddaughter Anahita (to mean Goddess of water) that felt appropriate, and loved the water too! It's new leaves are healthy and it looks better.
Several trees were mulched especially those close the harder surface close to path. The Walnut in the south east corner looks good and was given over 40 litres of water. All the trees look good and none showed any signs of drought.
A woman passerby Carrie refilled the big flask that emptied itself of water on the journey over in the trailer and then joined us for tea. Carrie also let in know the location of a water tap (it needs an instrument to open it which I have, (can't recall the name of this) so that may be useful for the future.
We want to thank; Anahita, Joanne, Fiona, Shauna, Moyra, Eadaoin, Bay, Eugene, Tim, Carrie, and other children Logan, Sol, Gabriel, baby Ezra and some more. A gentleman passerby hoping to come and live in Hackney helped us lift water too.
24th April 2017 EC

Other action, April 2017
On Hackney Downs Russell and Tony have recently watered all the newly planted trees. One Salix tree is stressed.
Bernie Graham SNUG is planning on watering the new trees on SNC on 27th evening 6pm.

Mulching trees on Well Street Common. Sunday June 11th 2017.
Tree Musketeers mulched all the trees planted last winter plus several planted the previous year. All trees look in good state. It was the Fun Day on Well Street Common so there was fun too!
Thanks to Hackney Council staff for delivery of mulch and delivery of tools and wheelbarrows to the Common and back to the council yard. Thanks to Russell and Eugene.

Tree Walk on Stoke Newington Common. Sunday July 30th at 5pm.
On a walk to celebrate the tree planting over the past 20 years, we looked at all of the trees planted. It was an opportunity for walkers to notice the differing sizes, species and rates of growth. It started by noting the size of the white poplar trees planted by the council back in 2003. This was to show how TMs not only look after trees not planted by volunteers and to note that these trees survived in that hot summer - in part at least - because they were watered vigoursly by volunteers at the time. We looked also at some lessons learnt, for example, the planting of London Plane trees in an avenue of mature London Planes that have not done well, probably as their root system is not strong enough to compete with mature roots needing similar resources. About 45 trees on the Common were raised from seed.
It was ambitious to try to cover all of the trees (in parallel with the ambition of TMs) and it showed the sheer amount of change we have helped to make happen and to maybe have changed in a moderate way the landscape of the Common.
The walk was attended by about 20 people, including: Bay, Laurie, Tony, Liz, Pete, Sheila, Shelagh, Brian and partner and two of his sisters, plus the rest!

Hackney Downs Tree action day. Saturday August 5th 2017.
Tree Musketeers mulched all of the trees planted last winter plus many trees planted in the last few years. After mulching all of last years’ planting, we focused on those that were likely to be at higher risk of drying out.
Maintenance was carried out on many trees and necessary pruning.
There are many small trees that still need mulching; that will be planned for the next tree action day on the Downs on September 16th.
The 'parent' of one of the memorial trees planted last year spoke with us when she was visiting the tree and was again thankful and clearly appreciates the presence of that tree.
Thanks to Ita, Liz, Tony, Russell, Stephanie and Eugene.

Watering trees on Well Street Common. Tuesday August 15th 2017.
All 20 of this year’s planting were watered with 15 to 20 litres. One hawthorn from last year’s planting was watered, a tree that looks stressed - but this has been the case for a while.
All trees look in good condition. It was a sunny evening.
Thanks to Mary again for the loan of a trolley and for water, and to Shelia, Bay, and Eugene and to Bobbi for organising this.


Tree walk on Stoke Newington Common, 3rd September 2017 at 3pm
This walk was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the tree planting on Stoke Newington Common.
The walk looked at the 46 mature trees. They comprise 32 London planes, three mature sycamores, nine mature limes, one mature ash and wild  cherry. This is relatively few mature trees for a space of this size. Most of them are on the Common east of the railway line. Today there are approximately 30 semi-mature trees planted by volunteers in the last 20 years plus approximately 40 smaller trees. We have planted in all about 75 to 80 trees.
Differentiating limes from each other, buckeyes with chestnuts, and horse chestnuts with sweet chestnuts was looked at and discussed. The view of the Common from the Brooke Road/Rectory Road junction is significantly enriched with treescape from how it looked in 1997. There are now two large-leafed limes and two semi-mature Italian alders that line the boundary of the south of the Common. One of the limes was vandalised with its neighbour the alder one night in 2003/4. The lime was so badly vandalised that it needed cutting back to the ground. Through enthaustic and good pruning practice afterwards, the tree has grown back to almost the size of its twin. It is curved in shape, giving it character. Its twin had a more free beginning to life and is more directly upright. How the curved lime grew back from the ground again shows the energy present for life in both the plant and human ability to aid nature.
From when the first set of trees was planted in 1998, with supervision from Hackney Council's tree officer; to 2016, when the planting was carried out in partnership between TMs and the Stoke Newington Common User Group (SNUG) shows progress from being council-led, to local people being organised to do this. This achievement in itself is an example of the objectives of the Tree Musketeers. In 1998 we were a small group of volunteers attending monthly tree-care sessions provided through the council and taught by the Tree council. It was on the Common that the first tree planting projects took place.
Our aim has been to enable local people to participate in tree planting and their aftercare. In 1998 we planted six trees here: four London plane trees, a hornbeam and a field maple. Two of the planes subsequently died - probably due to lack of aftercare. Today two of the planes trees that survived stand just west of the north section of Rectory Road as part of the treescape there - now semi-mature trees. They look wonderful.
From 1998 we planted trees annually for seven years until we ran out of space! Since then, many trees have been planted - for memorial and various other causes. The Cedar of Lebanon Cedrus libani stands there now in coming majesty at the north of Rectory Road in that junction island. It was planted on 11th November 2000. This species of tree might have been an unconscious choice as to our ambition in 'treeing' Hackney. There are even some myths as to who planted it, indicating its coming significance.
Volunteers secured funding for the initial big planting in winter of 2000 through funds from Thames Water as in the late 1990s the roundabout was rebuilt following work. We discovered Thames Water had promised to make good the loss of four mature lime trees there, but this promise had gone quiet. When we wrote to them they promised and provided the funding for the tree planting for winter 2000. Several trees planted  that winter did not survive. This is possibly because we were less aware of the need to carry out care through mulching, regular watering and guard protection. This was a hard lesson when four of the six trees in a birch grove died.
The walk went on longer than planned, and walkers stayed longer but needed to leave - maybe again illustrating the way trees engage us if we let them.
Thanks to all who attended.
Eugene 


View reports of activities in other years (as pdf): 2016 -- 2013 -- 2012 -- 2011 -- 2010 -- 2009 -- 2008 -- 2007

Last Updated: Thurs 5th Jan 2017

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