Tag Archives: Woodland

Hidden Goldenrod in Warren Farm

Goldenrod Warren Farm

Now that Warren Farm Meadow has been mowed, there is no longer any Goldenrod to pull from the main field.  It can however still be found hidden in the woods.

If you fancy a spot of stress release, pulling goldenrod out by the roots,  in the woodland is a very satisfying experience.  The ground is soft and full of leaf mould, which means the roots have little to hang onto.  Just pull up the plant, get as much root out as you can and leave it on the footpath.  A volunteer will then pick it up and put it on one of the compost heaps.

Goldenrod Warren Farm

Meadow Restoration on a Sunday morning

Warren Farm Meadow Restoration

First weekend task day of the year.. eleven of us made great progress removing Canadian goldenrod in the top area of the field. Chafer beetles, frog hoppers and flat backed millipedes kept the eagle eyed kids very entertained, and its always handy having Roger our entomologist on hand for instant species identification.

Flat Back Millipede

Welcome to our newcomers and it was lovely to see last years crew back again.

Sally Williams Warren Farm 1

The next weekend date is SAT 11TH JUNE 10 -12, and we will continue to work every WEDNESDAY 9.30 – 11. Do come along and join us, you will be made very welcome.

Sally Williams Frog Hopper

 

Are there Oak Processionally Moths in Nonsuch Park?

oak processionary moth 1

If you go down to the woods today, watch out for oak processionary moths, advises Sutton. Sutton residents are being advised by Sutton Council to be on the lookout for oak processionary moth caterpillars when visiting the borough’s parks this spring as the moths can cause an allergic reaction.

The oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoein processionea) is a pest that was recently identified in the Worcester Park area in the west of the borough. The moth was introduced to England from mainland Europe and first identified in London in 2005.

The oak processionary moth caterpillars emerge around May, coinciding with bud burst when leaves emerge from trees at the start of the growing season. In their early stages of growth, the newly-hatched caterpillars feed exclusively on oak leaves and it is possible for large populations to strip whole trees of their leaves. On a healthy oak tree, this generally will not cause any permanent damage, but it can leave trees vulnerable to other pests and diseases, and less able to withstand events such as drought and flood.

As the caterpillars develop they produce thousands of tiny barbed hairs containing a substance called thaumetopoein that can cause itching skin rashes, eye irritations and sore throats in people and animals that come into contact with them. In rare cases the barbed hairs can cause breathing difficulties and allergic reactions. However, symptoms are not usually serious and can be treated by a pharmacy.

The hairs can be shed by the caterpillars as a defence mechanism, be blown off by the wind, and left in the silken webbing nests the caterpillars build on the trunks and branches of oak trees, sometimes at or close to ground level. These nests can fall to the ground, and hairs can stick to the trunks and branches of oak trees.

The oak processionary moth caterpillars have a distinctive habit of moving about in or under oak trees in nose-to-tail processions, which gives them their name. The silken webbing nests are white when new, and often have silken trails leading to them. They quickly become discoloured and harder to see against the dark colour of oak-tree bark.

Sutton Council’s Parks Service is monitoring the situation closely and has a term contractor to deal with both spraying and nest removal.

Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“If you see any oak processionary moth nests or caterpillars, do not approach or touch them. Report them immediately to the council or the Forestry Commission, which is leading efforts to control its population, spread and impact.”

The main risk period is between now and July, when the caterpillars are active. However, borough residents are advised to avoid nests, even “spent” nests, at any time, because the hairs in them can remain irritating for many months.

Wickham Avenue saved from flooding by culvert

Wickham Ditch and bridge

After the very heavy rainfall over the past 48 hours, the Wickham Avenue culvert is helping to channel off a huge amount of water and preventing the properties in Wickham Avenue from flooding.

Many thanks to the Nonsuch Voles for digging out the ditch  and culvert under the London Road and Sutton Council for providing the bridge.

 

Spring is coming to Nonsuch Woodland

Bluebells in Nonsuch woodland

There is nothing more lovely than walking through the woodland in late spring.  The woodland between Nonsuch Park and Cheam Rec, is especially beautiful, after all the hard coppicing work by the Nonsuch Voles, two winters ago.

As the sunlight comes through, dormant seeds are awoken and new plants are discovered.  Spanish Bluebells, Cow Parsley and an Apple Tree all help create some beautiful woodland.