Planting Schemes: And Evaluation
In order to really understand planting schemes we had a look at a local planting scheme. (Marston vale), we are to de-construct the planting scheme and really look into the thinking’s and the design process behind a planting scheme. In order to do this we need to understand how the forestry directive has translated his objectives from the design onto the actual site. This will provide greater understanding into planting schemes and the amount of preparation needed to create a successful balance between the integration of new green infrastructure into an urban environment.
The area where the planting scheme is located, use to be mined for clay, the whole area was openly scared and mined for materials to make brick and different building properties. Also located near-by is a large landfill site witch has been buried by a layer of subsoil. This now has dis-balanced all the natural drainage, so throughout the scheme drainage pipes have been careful placed so as to create good drainage again as this site is mainly made up of clay soils. Now Marston is part of a large afforestation project and an approx. planting of 5 million trees will be introduced.
Specific interest should be focused on the species and existing structures already in place, located in the site is semi-natural planted woodland which is part a remnant wood as well. Before trees were planted, Marston would of researched and looked at the existing trees planted, firstly on how well the existing species where surviving in the area. Various soil tests would have taken place to look at the acidity, drainage, nutrients and the contaminants the soil composes of. Matching the integration of new species to existing species is crucial as aesthetics and feel need to match into its surrounding and feel right.
Iis evident each block has its own ‘lump’ this is lumps of time, each block has its own age class as you can see some blocks where planted throughout the years of 2001- 2005, this creates a varied age class of blocks.
Looking at the map supplied by Marston vale, and specifically the creating of each block, straight lines where not used. Each block was more curved to the design of the landscape with different sizes and shapes made up to match the structure of the landscape. This creates more of a natural feel as straight lines in the landscape don’t create a natural look. This idea was also used also when planting tree species inside the block, the trees being planted where not planted in straight lines each tree was planted on a slight curve to create more of a wave effect. This creates a more natural easy to the eye appearance as this really integrates the trees as they grow naturally.
Trees were planted by volunteers using organized days and events to make the public feel part of the scheme. Trees planted where young nursery stock whips or feathers, but there is evidence of light and heavy standards being dotted throughout each block. Deciduous broad-leafed native trees where used throughout the scheme ex: Acer campesrie, Fraxinus excelcior, Quercus sp, and all trees where spiraled and canned.
Consideration was taken to the way each tree species was planted; there was no specific plan specification on how the mix of species should be planted. All the species were mixed in a randomized way of distribution. Marston is trying to create a more natural wildlife species mix. However we found that on the perimeter of each block understory type species planting was evident, not only where trees found, but also shrubby type species like dogwood and privet, a marginal planting scheme was used, as trees were planted towards the center of each block a more climatic planting scheme was used, this was created using ‘larger’ growing tree species. so we have evident a lower height shrubby planting scheme on the perimeter of each block, then a middle tier is formed using some Acer campestrie and some Quercus sp, then as we reach the center of each block we have mainly larger Quercus sp. This will create a more natural flowing outline in the area.
In my findings Betula sp Have been dotted round the Quercus sp, this could suggest that Marston are looking to encourage other trees to grow up faster and straighter as Betula sp are faster growing than the more climaxed sp, through time the Betula sp will die off leaving the Quercus sp to mature.
Not only do we also have the above mix of planting species, but we have a density spacing planting scheme as well. We have found that in the middle we have a fairly dense canopy, then to a broken canopy, then to some patchy open spaces this was created using a spacing scheme, trees were planted closer as they reached the center of each block. A mosaic management scheme is used throughout the planting and thinking process of this scheme, this creates good biodiversity for all users not only pedestrians but wildlife and smaller ground plant species as well.
When plating schemes of this size are created, during the planning processes there are many statute laws that need to be considered. Marston vale would of needed to considered these laws not only in the planning but also in there maintenance schemes.
As we can see from the just read information there is allot more planning and thought that goes into planting schemes. Projections of growth rates and losses have to be assessed and only if all of these things are implemented then a successful planting scheme can take place.
Written By Simeon Balsam