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Tree Management at Kergord

Published: 20 April 2016

ZoomAnyone passing Kergord recently may have noticed ongoing work, which appears to involve cutting down trees at the popular and much visited woodland area. There is, however, no cause for concern that our small and well-loved area of ‘forest’ is being cleared – it is in fact being carefully maintained to protect the trees that grow there.

The trees at Kergord were originally planted between 1913 and 1920 and were a mixture of mostly Sitka Spruce, Japanese Larch and Sycamore. Since then, they have come to maturity, however having been planted only a few meters apart there is very little room to spread their roots out enough to support their 20m top-heavy growth.

Very often at this time of year, a few trees are lost as the winter gales cause them to rock back and forth in the shallow soil until their roots break free and the whole tree topples over.

When this happens they can get caught up in neighbouring trees, sometimes breaking apart, leaving large limbs caught up in the canopy, and sometimes even creating a domino effect, taking a few other trees down with them.

Right now, the woodlands team at the Shetland Amenity Trust is cutting out all the hung-up trees, and chopping them down into brash and logs then piling it into wind rows. These provide habitats for insects, birds and small mammals. It also clears the forest floor and allows space to plant new trees that will eventually fill the empty areas.

So over the next few years, visitors to Kergord will see more and more old trees being turned into big long piles that provide shelter for lots of new young trees.