LITTER PICK NEWS
With a record number of Volunteers (27) turning out for the litter pick last Sunday we managed to cover a larger area than normal around Ballincollig. A good section of the Regional Park was also covered.
As is usual practice, several of our Volunteers carried out daily litter picks during the week.
After the hard work we all gathered at The Plaza for coffee / tea and some lovely buns. For the week that was in it, the owner had a red rose for each female Volunteer. A thoughtful gesture which was greatly appreciated.
Sixteen bags of general litter were collected for the entire week. This included 1 bag of cans and one bag of glass.
The bags of the general litter were sorted on Monday at the Allotment. This resulted in the recyclables being increased and the general litter bags being reduced.
FIRST PAGE PITCH SUBMISSIONS!
Cork World Book Fest 2023 is now accepting submissions for the very popular First Page Pitch. To submit please email as an attachment a two line/fifty word pitch describing your book and the first 500 words of your book to email@example.com
A panel of expert booklovers will choose 10 for the authors to read out loud for feedback from the agents (Or if you’re shy, Sam Blake will read them). It is incredibly useful to hear pitches and the openings of books and what the agents think of them – tune into perfect your own approach, find out what works and what doesn’t!
The readings and feedback will take place on Saturday April 22 at Cork City Library, Grand Parade.
Closing date for submissions is 5.00 pm Friday March 31, 2023.
MEN AT WORK
Some great work was done tidying the long flower bed at Westcliffe on Tuesday by Gay, Adrian and John. This has been taking longer than expected but the results so far are well worth the extra time.
They’re back!! This time at Maglin Bridge. But now not only are they continuing to dump bags of used nappies they are going one further and are now adding their garden waste.
The bags were collected by a Maglin resident who carries out regular litter picks on Maglin Road/Hobbs. Three more bags were dumped too far down the embankment to recover them.
It is hard to believe that people like this exist in a community where people work so hard to keep the area and beyond looking its best for everyone to enjoy.
TRANSITION YEARS’ SUNDAY WORK
Six Transition Year students worked with Denis on Sunday for the hour’s litter pick. They cleaned up leaves on the cycle lane on Main Street near Colaiste Choilm. They did some great work and collected bags of leaves which were later put into our compost bays at the Allotment. We in Ballincollig Tidy Towns are always so grateful and proud of the Transition Year students.
Work continued on the Hydrangeas at Carrigrohane during Monday. Many were pruned. This will help to strengthen them. Over half way there now and the difference is evident in a positive way. Thursday was spent working here and we reached as far as the gold medal sign.
SPRING IS ALL AROUND What a beautiful sight – Crocuses in the grass near the Car Park in the Regional Park.
THE PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES
An extract from the TidyTowns Handbook
Sincere thanks to Dr Christy Boylan who has prepared the following piece to support groups in regard to the proper planting, care and maintenance of trees, which are one of our most valuable assets.
Choosing the right tree species
When planting new trees in towns and villages, there is a wide selection to choose from. Both native and introduced species can be suitable for urban settings. Generally, it is preferable to use native species, such as oak and alder, on the fringe of settlements as they blend well with the rural environment and create a more natural, informal effect as well as promote biodiversity.
Knowledge of what grows well on similar sites nearby is a good guide. Some introduced species, especially beech, chestnut and lime, can also be suitable on the fringe of settlements or where required to retain local character. Other introduced species are more suitable for planting within the urban area, in the streetscape, green areas and other public spaces.
An elegant avenue of lime and hornbeam trees on the approach to Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary. Some introduced species may endure exposed coastal locations better than natives, such as the evergreen oak (in areas not liable to severe frosts). Trees that formshallow, surface roots, such as ornamental cherries, can disrupt footpaths and paved surfaces and are best suited to planting on open spaces and green areas. Where trees are planted to create an avenue effect along approach roads and other transport corridors they should be of a single species at a consistent spacing along a route.
Other factors to consider:
Sufficient space available for root and crown spread at maturity. Roots spread beyond the branch area of the tree with most roots found in the top 45cm of soil and most absorbing roots found in the top 15cm of soil.
Many Irish place names are associated with or derived from trees and this may be reflected when choosing tree species e.g. Glenbeigh, or in Irish, Gleann Beithe, means valley of the birch trees
The future height and width of a tree should be considered to ensure compatibility with the scale and character of a space and surrounding buildings at full maturity.
Colour: Trees with distinctive coloured foliage such as purple hazel and copper beech, variegated maples should be used sparingly as the vibrant colours can appear over-whelming. Rows of trees with crimson leaves should usually be avoided as they can be visually oppressive while trees with variegated foliage often appear gawdy and unnatural. Trees of strong individual character (e.g. copper beech) are best used as specimens with plenty of space around them. Norway maple trees grow tall and provide good autumn colour
Seasonal interest: select trees that can bring year-round interest, i.e. trees with attractive bark, vibrant autumn leaf colour, flowers, catkins or berries, and evergreen species in appropriate locations.
Fruit, berries and nuts: Trees such as horse chestnut, hawthorn, mountain ash and whitebeam, all produce attractive displays of fruit or berries. Although highly suitable in green areas and parklands, fruit-bearing trees may not be suitable in streets or in pedestrian areas for safety and cleansing reasons.
Trees are subject to an increasing number of pests and diseases. Avoiding over reliance on a narrow range of species will limit the impact of these threats. The resilience of our tree population can be enhanced by increasing the diversity and variety of new trees planted. However, where the same type of tree species creates an avenue or clearly defined group within part of a street, new and replacement trees should be of the same or closely matching species in the interest of visual continuity.
Use large canopy trees wherever space allows. Large-growing tree species confer much greater environmental benefits to urban areas than small trees
Wildlife and biodiversity value – many trees, such as lime, sycamore, horse chestnut and willow provide excellent bee forage.
Some key points to remember when planting are:
Do not let the roots of bareroot trees dry out in transit or on site. Keep them wrapped in plastic or covered with moist earth.
Make sure the planting hole is big enough to take the roots fully spread out.
Do not plant too deep. Keep the ‘soil mark’ at the base of the stem at ground level.
Always water the plant immediately after planting.
Staking is necessary for any newly planted tree, over 2m to prevent wind-rock and movement of the roots which can slow down establishment.
A double stake is used for staking containergrown and root-balled trees. Two stakes are inserted opposite each other and secured to the trunk by long ties or a timber crossbar and tie. This method is also useful on windy sites.
An angled stake is used for trees planted on slopes. Drive a stake in before or after planting at a 45-degree angle, leaning into the prevailing wind.
Aftercare of newly planted trees
For a tree to become established, a maintenance programme should be followed for at least the first two growing seasons, and ideally for five years after planting. It can be based on the following;
Watering – carried out regularly during the first two growing seasons. There is often a dry period from April to June and many newly planted trees die at this time through inadequate watering. During prolonged dry weather, the soil around young trees should be soaked thoroughly at least every week. For semi-mature specimens continue deep watering for five years after planting.
A single stake is the standard method for staking bare-root trees, with the stake inserted before planting. The stake should be about one-third the height of the tree and is inserted on the side of the prevailing wind so that the tree is blown away from the stake.
Tree stakes and ties should be checked regularly. Tree ties may need adjustment where they have become too tight, loose stakes should be firmed and broken ties replaced as soon as possible to avoid damage to the tree. Ties and stakes should be removed after two or three growing seasons, or once a tree is stable.
Control weed growth keeping a circle around young trees, for an area of at least 1 metre in diameter, clear of grass, weeds, or other plants. This reduces competition for moisture and nutrients and also helps to protect tree trunks from lawnmower damage. Applying 50-100mm of mulch will keep soil temperatures cool, retain water, and discourage weeds. Top-up and replace mulch as needed.
Apply fertiliser if absolutely necessary. Never fertilise stressed trees.
Remove dead or injured branches immediately.
Young, immature trees benefit from pruning in their formative years. This should be carried out in accordance with good arboricultural practice.
It involves removing crossing branches and potentially weak forks to encourage a good natural shape and reduce the need for major pruning when the tree is mature.
Once established, the requirement to prune trees should be minimal, to remove diseased or dead branches or carry out crown lifting.
The branches of wider canopy trees can be gradually removed, ideally over the first 6-10 years, as the trees grow taller to lift the crown and provide an eventual clear stem of 2.5m in pedestrian areas, 3m on cycleways and up to 4.5m on streets and vehicular routes.
All pruning should leave trees with a well-balanced, natural appearance.
Care of established trees
Old, mature and established trees significantly contribute to the unique character and identity of a landscape setting and often hold a special place in the hearts of local people. For this reason, they require careful management to ensure their longevity.
While the majority may require little or no intervention, the following are considerations in their management:
Protect tree bark from damage: Avoid using weed trimmers or lawn mowers around trees which can cause damage to the bark. Hand-pull weeds instead or mulch the area around the base of the tree to avoid this problem. Alternatively leave longer grass around established tree groups to reduce the amount of grass cutting. Do not fix signs, flags or other items to the trunks of trees as nailing anything into a tree is intrusive and every wound creates a potential entry point for decay • Disease: Be vigilant for any signs or symptoms of disease, stress or decay and, where necessary, seek appropriate advice from a qualified arborist. Avoid planting at the base of trees: The practice of planting annual bedding plants or other planting at the base of trees is discouraged, as the root zone of the tree is disturbed annually by cultivating the soil and digging planting holes. Bedding plants also compete with the tree roots for air and moisture. Built edges/ planter walls around trees are also discouraged as building up soil around a tree can suffocate its roots and cause a tree to decline.
Ivy on trees: Ivy provides a sheltered habitat for a range of wildlife and is a great source of autumn nectar for insects and late winter fruit for birds. It is not parasitic and does not directly affect the health of the trees it climbs. However, where ivy has taken hold on young, weak or mature trees, it may compete for water and nutrients and suppress healthy growth. The density of its bushy growth can obscure cavities or defects from view and increases the tree’s vulnerability to wind damage. In these limited situations, removal of ivy may be deemed necessary for risk management purposes. Ivy should not be removed as a matter of course. It is a native plant and woodland species.
Removal of sucker growth: Some trees such as limes are prone to sucker growths that appear from the root system at the base of the tree. This can detract from the health of a tree as energy is put into producing these shoots. On roadside trees, suckers can be a visibility hazard for road users. Sucker growth should be removed as part of annual maintenance.
Pruning: Older trees do not tolerate pruning as well as younger trees and substantial or unnecessary pruning should be avoided. No branch should be removed without a good reason. Seek the advice and services of an insured tree care professional for large pruning jobs, hazard trees, and insect or disease problems. Non-professionals should never prune near utility wires
Topping of Trees: Do not top trees to reduce height as this is not good arboricultural practice. It causes large wounds, exposing trees to decay pathogens and causing their long-term decline. A topped tree is an ugly tree, disfigured even when it regrows as well as being potentially unsafe. Regrowth resulting from ‘topping’ will often be denser than the original crown and be weakly attached to the branches it develops from.
Further information can be found in the TidyTowns Handbook by visiting the website at www.tidytowns.ie