We usually plant hazel in groups of three to simulate a single-stemmed plant one or two years after coppicing. While the plants are small and cast little shade brambles thrive, and so for the first few years after planting HCCV’s other big task is ‘bramble bashing’ - digging or pulling them up by hand. Although essential this isn’t our favourite job but with most of the roots growing in the thick layer of leaf mould present in the wood, it is easier than you might think. We also get quite a sense of satisfaction after a team has cleared a sizeable area! In the last two years we’ve invested in small hand mattocks (c. £10) which are ideal, so if you have to do this sort of work I strongly recommend them.
Nicholsons sell various sizes and ages of bare root hazel plants and because of our bramble problem (and our almost stone-free soil which makes planting easy) we find bare root transplants superior to the equivalent sized seedlings. They usually have a number of stems and a bigger and more fibrous root system, so they establish faster and make plants that compete with the brambles at least one and probably two or more years sooner than seedlings do.
- Unpacking the plants, showing their well-developed root systems.
- Hazel being planted in groups of 3 by two-man teams.
- The small mattock we find very useful when ‘bramble bashing’.