Histon & Impington Community Orchard Project

Work timeline

Page last updated: 13 May 2016

Aims

  • To improve the biodiversity
  • To establish a meadow surrounded by a native hedge
  • To create a natural space for community use, for all ages
  • To create a place of education, reminding us of our village’s strong connection with fruit growing
  • To establish the site as an orchard

Note We have an on-going, long term, project to establish a wildflower meadow between the trees by planting small patches of wildflowers which over the years will spread throughout the site. The soil is slightly acidic (pH 6) and so is not suitable for calcicole/chalk downland meadow flowers. We are planting a range of meadow flowers typical of East Anglian meadows.

Management

Dates Activities
Summer 2012
  • Cut the sward to reduce strength of grass and encourage seed bank germination. Cuttings were removed when possible.
June 2012
  • Removed strips of turf from a number of squares to expose top soil. Mixed wild flower seeds sown in some squares (neutral pH soils) whilst others were left to allow monitoring of which meadow plants did well.
October 2012
  • ‘Meadow in a Tray’ project launched. Schools and individuals were invited to grow a tray of meadow flowers for planting in the meadow in Spring 2013. This project will continue for several years to increase the diversity of meadow plants.
Jan – Mar 2013
  • Tree locations marked.
  • Planting pits were dug. Each planting pit was large enough to take the root stock. The bottom and sides of each pit were broken out to allow root growth into surrounding soil.
  • Plant trees.
  • Tree protection consisting of three poles, stock fencing and rabbit fencing was built to form triangular protection around each tree. Mesh‘openable’ to allow easy weeding around trees. After planting, the trees were well watered, and mulched. Each tree was staked and tied. Ties will be adjusted and loosened as necessary.
  • Formative pruning.
  • Improving the hedge nearest the busway.
  • Remove half the spirals on this part of the hedge in Spring 2014.
Spring 2013
Summer 2013
  • Trees watered during dry spells and sprayed once a fortnight with Aston Tree Wash, an organic garlic-based spray.
  • Boundary for hedge planting planting prepared. Grass sprayed off and rotavated.
  • Site fenced with stock control fencing to demark boundary whilst the hedge establishes.
  • Gates erected at the corners of the arc boundary. Gates to allow access for all.
December 2013
  • Native hedge planted around the orchard site. Whips planted in double staggered rows about 45cm apart with plants about 50cm apart in each row. Whips protected with spirals, and plan to remove half of spirals in Spring 2016.
  • Nine fruit trees planted to grow through the hedge on the arc boundary.
Janaury 2014
  • Second year formative pruning of the trees planted in 2013.
March 2014
  • Planting of 12 trees in the Orchard Parkland.
May 2014
  • Installing picnic tables and the Royal British Legion bench. More planting of meadow plants and mowing the grass paths through the orchard.
February 2015
  • Planting of a further two trees in the Orchard Parkland and 22 trees to create the Early 20th Century Orchard.
Thereafter
  • Water trees and hedge plants in their first year, as necessary
  • Meadow to be cut twice a year
  • Cuttings to be removed
  • Young trees to be kept free of grass and other plants around their trunks whilst they are establishing
  • Tree ties and stakes to be removed once tree has had at least one year growth and is well established
  • Hedging to be kept free of weeds until established
  • Hedge to be either cut or laid to maintain a height of 1m.

Year 1 – 2013

Orchard plan for 2013

Activities

  • Plant East Anglian Medley (19 trees) and Central Circle (7 trees)
  • Inoculate Eastern area of meadow using ‘Meadow in a Tray’ plants
  • Plant boundary hedge
  • Erect temporary fence

Year 2 – 2014

Orchard plan 2014

Activities

  • Plant Orchard Parkland trees (14 of the 16 trees)
  • Continue to plant ‘Meadows in tray’ in Eastern and Northern parts of orchard
  • Put in first benches and further seating as funds allow
  • Mow paths into orchard

Year 3 – 2015

2015 orchard plan

Activities

  • Plant Early 20th Century Orchard – 2 apple varieties plus pollinators local to Histon and Impington
  • Continue to plant ‘Meadows in a tray’ to increase the meadow plants
  • Make up paths as funds allow
  • Other orchard-compatible projects such as artwork

Overall plan