The 1,000 young trees we planted back in February to reinforce the margins of Horse Close Wood are doing well. But they were starting to get choked by brambles and nettles, and we wanted to clear these to give the trees the best possible chance over the winter.

So some volunteers from FOWP, together with Merton tree wardens, rolled up their sleeves on a fine September morning to do some weeding. We pulled up nettles, dug out brambles and gave the saplings better access to light and air. We were accompanied by a pair of robins who swooped in to take advantage of the broken soil and catch some worms. The cleared brambles and nettles were piled around the edges of the planting area to create a ‘dead hedge’ that will give the trees some extra protection.

Despite the dry summer, many of the saplings have grown to waist height and will hopefully establish themselves further over the winter. There are now plans to plant additional trees along the back edge of the car park.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the wood, a fence has been put up to protect an area (damaged earlier in the year by National Grid works) where we are establishing a grassland with the wild flowers of damp woodland. This takes time and careful management, so please bear with us.