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Please note: The reports from 2017 have been archived as a PDF file - see links at the foot of page. Any further reports from 2017 wil be added to the archive.

Annual Report and Accounts_2019 covering activities Jan-Dec 2018, with accounts to 31 March 2019

1st January 2018
There was a record turnout on Tree Musketeers 10th New Year's Day tree walk in Abney Park Cemetery Nature Reserve. Ninety people came to hear Russell discuss winter tree ID, gauging tree health, natural hollowing of veteran trees, tree fungi and forest consciousness.

26th January 2018
At an informal TM pruning session on HackneyDowns this morning, we formatively pruned and crown-lifted three oaks, three thorns, an ornamental crab and a horse chestnut. It was a beautiful morning with bird song giving thanks to sunshine.
We crown-lifted this oak today. We first planted it 20 metres from the tennis courts on Hackney Downs. Then two courts were added. As a semi-mature oak, it had to be moved. It has just started to look comfortable in its new site ten years later, thanks to lots of aftercare. Hopefully this one can stay put.

27th January 2018
While some members of GoodGym Hackney felled a tree, others scrubbed pots ready for Tree Musketeers to plant young trees.
 Photos: Felling an Italian alder that was out-growing its space in the Hackney Community Tree Nursery orchard; GoodGym Hackney hard at work helping to remove the tree.



3rd February 2018, Daubeney Fields
Cold and wet didn't stop five keen volunteers from learning about pruning fruit trees at Daubeney Fields today. The apple trees are really taking shape.


5th February 2018
We had a great day in Wick Woodland. We opened up the south ride, built some dead hedges, extracted 50 number plates, discarded wire and a theodolite tripod!
Photo: A welcome tea break from coppicing in Wick Woodland. The storm kettle kept us in hot water for tea.

Tree Action Day, Hackney Downs, February 10th 2018
Tree Musketeers mulched and re-secured nine oak trees on the Downs today. Three of these trees needed a second post to increase the size within the guard to give more space for the tree to grow. All these trees were mulched. The posts were re-used after re-pointing them and, like the extra guards needed, had been used elsewhere beforehand.
The trees were the three oaks planted six years ago in the NW area and the group of six oaks on each side of the more central path going south west. It got wet but we got done what was planned.
Thanks to: James, Myra, Alistar, Jess, Pete, Nicky and Eugene.
Four of the volunteers are from the Hackney Downs User Group (HUG).
Thanks to HUG for the photos

Last tree planting of the season 2017/18: North Millfields,

26th February 2018

The remaining two oak trees that were not planted as planned on day one of the Millfields North planting

in December, were planted on February 26th.

They were planted in the north-west area close to the paddling pool. The weather was kind for the

duration of the planting and after it there were some blizzards. Daven, the LBH supervisor, kindly

allocated two of the staff to help; John and Stella, and the use of their tools and the buggy for

transport. The trees are named after them and they were keen to suggest that their tree will grow the

biggest! It was fun with them, and then towards the end we were joined by Carla, a young woman who is

very keen to learn. She was proud, she said, to plant the last tree to be planted this season. Both

trees were guarded by a double guard and posts.

Thanks to Carla, Stella, John and Eugene.

Well Street Common, Tuesday May 22nd 6pm.
All trees planted last winter were watered with 20 litres of water, some a little more. Thanks to Liz, Olivia, the boy with his mother and Eugene, and of course to Mary for the use of her trolley and water. All trees are looking in good condition. It would be good to also water a few from previous years. One of the oaks planted in the north area was decapitated some time ago, but it should be ok. There are no other signs of recent vandalism. The trees planted previously to last winter need mulching.

Last Saturday at Tree Nursery May 26th.
We had a good and new team, mainly female, who were brilliant and we managed to pot on all of the trees that need to be done for this season - well beyond the priority trees that needed potting on. The remaining West Himalayan Spruces were potted on the and the few Black Poplars that needed to be done. We then potted on the smaller trees and, apart from the odd tree that still could be potted on, we are now up to date - until a few more newcomers may arrive in the next week or so! Thanks to Tuesday teams for the availability of the soil which makes such a difference when potting on.
It was good to give volunteers the experience of identifying trees that needed potting on, to potting on, through to re-locating the tree to its new position, to mulching and watering; the sort of essence of the Tree Nursery. Rocco's children also had a good time in helping and watering and experiencing the place. And the sun shone hard. All trees were watered too.
Many thanks to: Liz, Rocco, Nicola and their two daughters, Imogen, Karen, Ruth, Roseanna, Pete and Eugene.
Good Gym did not turn up, maybe because of the bank holiday weekend.
A local garden group, Wally Foster garden residents Alistair and Michelle, asked for and were given about a dozen small plants - holly, rose, soft fruits, honeysuckle and box - to enhance wildlife in the garden.

Impromptu tree care on: Hackney Downs, 13th June 2018

I watered on the Downs this evening: both Cherries got 30 litres and the two planted the year before in that double avenue - the Chestnut and Apple - got 20 litres each .
The Yellow Buckeye planted winter 2017 got 35 litres and the one planted 2016 25 litres; the 2016 one is going a little brown on the leaves; I remember it was quite bad last year.
I then waterd both Hornbeam and Spindle - they got 80 litres each, two trailer-loads!

Tree Musketeer Action day Hackney Downs Sun 17th June 2018
We cut the damaged Amelanchier to one metre and re-guarded it to make space for it to grow from the base. It has good growth so hopefully will grow back eventually. We tidied and adjusted two of the oaks in the group of six oaks. We reduced the height of the guard around a hawthorn in the south-west area.
We then went to the birch avenue near Stormont School and secured two guards, one of which had fallen down. Lastly we had a look at the Pineatum and are considering getting all the six trees there re-guarded, as some guards are restrictive. Five of the trees are growing well, but the fir isn't putting on much new growth. The Cedrus deodar is looking great.
Thanks to Mike and Eugene.

June 27th 2018. Well Street Common. Watering.
Many of the trees planted winter 2015 were watered due to current drought. The Hawthorns were somewhat stressed. The Walnut in centre of triangle was watered. An oak planted 2016 doesn't look in good health; it got a watering. We gave the Rowan planted last winter 50 litres. It looks pre-stressed, and is in same location as the previous rowan that died there.
We watered three of the Council-planted trees from last winter; the multi-leafed Prunus is in trouble due to lack of water in the drought. We then gave 60 litres each to the two trees north of the Common planted by Council contractors; both were drought-stressed. And we watered an oak planted last winter which was decapitated some time ago.
Thanks to Bay, Mary for providing water and Eugene. We did three trailer loads!

June 28th 2018. Daubeney Green Orchard. Clearing and watering.
We cleared around the two trees planted last winter - Malus and Apricot - as both were almost covered with bindweed growing on the guard, threatening their light and water supply.
Alastair was excited with his new scythe but very carefully scythed around the trees, and we then pulled out bindweed roots and cleared and re-mulched and re-guarded. We had a hose coming from the Concorde youth club so both trees got a good soak as they needed. Both were watered thrice with water from the canal by a container and rope in the past month or so.
Two larger trees were also cleared. I have been told by LBH they will do a mow there soon.
Thanks to Alastair and Ralph (both locals) and Eugene.


Friday pm. 29th June 2018, Hackney Downs
The Spindle and Hornbeam were given 80 litres each. Spindle looks dry but ok. The Hornbeam has some dead leaves but is ok I think.

Sunday am. 1st July 2018, Millfields North
From the canal two full trailers of water- 320 litres - watered:
Big Spindle got 90 litres;
Turkey type oak in small crescent (Regent's Park seed) got 40 litres;
Stressed Cherry in vicinity got 30 litres.
Into the park:
Swamp cypress, Pine, Quercus agrifolia, two upper park NW area Oaks and Rowan, got 20 litres;
The Cedar got 50 litres. It looks improved;
The rest except the Rowan look fine.
The trees in the south-east side of Millfields N were not watered.
I met a woman from Hungary who is part of a small tree-caring group in Vac near Budapest. We had a good chat and compared notes.

Tree watering update July 2018

Watering trees on Well Street Common, Tuesday July 17th
Four trailers of water were used to water all except two of the trees planted years winter 2015 and 2016. Due to the ongoing lack of rainfall, trees planted in the previous two years are showing signs of stress. This was especially noticed first in the hawthorns and then the birches on higher ground in the triangle in middle of the Common. The Field Maples seem to be more resilient, but two of the three Field Maples planted in 2016 were watered too.
The first trailer of bathwater watered the three birches on the north side of the triangle which were stressed again and were given 20 litres each. The three oaks to east side of triangle were watered with 20 litres each. The Walnut too was watered. Along the east-west path planting of 2015, the Cherry Plum in most easterly position was watered with 30 litres as it has been stressed for some weeks. The three-Hawthorn group on south side of that path were given 30 litres each. The other Hawthorns too were watered with 20 litres. The Rowan in most easterly position was watered with 20 litres and looks dry with eaten brown leaves - however it looked significantly better the following day.
The four oaks in oak path going south to Victoria park road were watered with 15 litres each and the Elm was given 20 litres as well as a week ago when it was beginning to be drought stressed. It looked ok today, the 17th.
Therefore in the past two weeks almost all of the trees planted 2015/16 have been watered bar two. Most look well.
Thanks to Liz, Ita and Eugene, and to Mary and family for the water.

Watering trees on Hackney Downs, Thursday evening July 19th
Two trailers were used to water the Stormont cherry that was decapitated two month ago. It has looked stressed in the last two weeks and was given 30 litres. The Malus and two cherry's  in double avenue were watered with 20 litres each. The wild cherry was stressed again. The vandalised horse chestnut was given 5 litres. Then towards the line of three exotic oaks. All looked dry in particular the middle oak that was watered a week or so ago. Both were given 25 litres each amidst footballers. Then it was impossible to ignore the call of the four exotic thorns alongside the MUGA and the Ash, all dry looking. The Ash in particular was drought stressed as it gets yearly in dry weather. All got 25 litres. Then the thee thorns by the playground got 10 litres and the oak and beech on either side got 5 litres each leaving an empty trolley.
Priorities now are the Walnuts by the orchard and the three cherry trees by the tennis court and the forever oak on oak path.
The Caucasian-like oak planted 2017 in the NE corner looks brilliant and had been watered regularly with dish water; regular watering making such a difference.

Daubeney Fields, 26th July 2018
On the final EcoActive 'Access to Nature' programme, an number of children from the Concorde Youth project  were engaged in watering young trees in the orchard and were given some teaching on fruit tree id and trees.
Two volunteers Alaister and Ralph have now taken an interest in the maintenance of the orchard and were present with hose and scythe. Several trees were tidied and cleared around. This will hopefully be ongoing. The two trees planted last winter are looking reasonable now and the leaf disease on two apple trees appears to have diminished.
Thanks to the children, Sarah EcoActive, Alaister, Ralph and Eugene.

Millfiellds North, 31st July 2018 
All trees planted last winter were watered using both pump and stand-pipe in the yard. All look in good condition except the Rowan. The Spindle continues to be slightly stressed but is not bad.
Thanks to Christine, Liz and Eugene.

Tree Action Day on Well Street Common, 11th August 2018

Tree Musketeers mulched about 15 young trees on the Common this morning. The trees looked stressed even though they had been watered reasonably regularly. All of last year's planting was re-mulched plus several more trees, using up all of the mulch. It was very hot and we needed to be careful not to get over-exposed in the sun.
We had some visitor volunteers from Essex and Tower Hamlets.
There has been some minor tree vandalism, with the leader of a couple of the trees broken off. Otherwise they are looking ok, in this very dry weather.
Many thanks to Sheila, Anouska, Mylo and several other children and an adult.
Thanks to the Council staff for delivery of the tools and mulch.

Tree Action Day on Hackney Downs, 13th October 2018
Mike and Eugene re-secured several trees where the guards were loose. Two trees in particular were released from the guard that was restricting them; a Scotch Pine near the centre of the Downs, and a Turkey Oak tree that looks so much better now with its branches spreading freely.
While there, we were called on by a member of the public as a branch had fallen from a mature London Plane tree beside the playground. We helped to make the branch stable on the ground (until it could be cleared away by the Council contactors), and local children had much fun with it and were given some information about the tools we used in answer to many questions.
Some of the oaks struggle with growing while others are growing great.

View reports of activities in other years (as pdf): 2017 -- 2016 -- 2013 -- 2012 -- 2011 -- 2010 -- 2009 -- 2008 -- 2007

Last Updated: 29th October 2018

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