Grass Clippings

This month will see the Grounds Team extending part of the original woodland on the golf course, from the 6th green through to the 15th tees. This development was part inspired by the call from the Prince of Wales to create the ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which invites people from across the United Kingdom to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’. As a Club we already adopted the idea to look at sustaining species which could cope with a changing climate and avoid species which have known issues with pest and disease which will become more susceptible as the decades roll on. The extended woodland will add shape and colour to the 6th, 7th, and 15th holes and help to regenerate the current woodland which as some gaps and dead trees within the plantation. Other tree related stories also in the weeks Grass Clippings …

There are and many diseases and pests that threaten our nation’s trees and woodlands. Much of the risk is created through climate change and global trade, with increasing freedom to travel and limited resources for checks at international borders. Spruce, which accounts for around 60% of our conifer woodland area and is by far the UK’s most commercial species, is at risk from Ips typographus, more commonly referred to as the eight-toothed spruce bark beetle. If left uncontrolled this beetle has the potential to be more devastating than those which have come before to UK shores, which includes Dutch Elm Beetle.

Ips typographus usually attack stressed or weakened trees, although their numbers can increase under certain conditions leading to a ‘mass attack’ which overwhelms the natural defence of healthy individuals, or a group of trees, ultimately leading to tree mortality. The timely removal of wind-thrown timber is an important factor in the management of I. typographus, as this removes the ideal breeding grounds for the insect. Sanitation felling of infested standing trees is the most effective control method for large areas and needs to be undertaken during the winter months when adult beetles are not active‍. There is currently a Plant Health Order in place over the entire southern areas of the Home Counties to restrict the movement of conifer material capable of spreading the pest. Given the recent findings, the boundary of this demarcated area will be extended to help prevent the accidental movement of this pest in the future months

A report, published during ‘National Tree Week’ is the first time the health and wellbeing benefits of the UK’s woodlands have been quantified. For England specifically, woodlands save £141 million costs associated with mental health illnesses, including visits to GPs, drug prescriptions, inpatient care, social services and the number of days lost due to mental health issues. The figures are based on evidence of the reduced incidence of depression and anxiety resulting from regular visits to woodlands. During the coronavirus pandemic, the prevalence of mental illness has increased. Access to trees, woods, forests, and other natural environments including urban parks and green spaces has become even more important for individuals to support and maintain their wellbeing. Of visits to all greenspace over the past 10 years, from farmland and countryside to parks and playing fields), 14.1% of these were made to woodlands. In urban areas, trees and woodlands are essential for communities, supporting wellbeing, reducing pollution and improving quality of life. Supporting this, the report finds that the value of street trees through avoided antidepressant costs related to mental health issues is £16 million. The report also finds that longer term, the value over the next 100 years is estimated to be just over £11 billion for the mental health benefits of visits to woodlands, and a further £1 billion for the mental health benefits of street trees. Almost half the population say that they are spending more time outside than before the pandemic, while the majority of adults surveyed by Forest Research agreed that their level of happiness when in woodlands and nature has increased.

Couples across Britain will be reaching for their baubles after an expert claimed having a real Christmas tree in the bedroom can spice up your sex life. Chris Bonnett, of, has claimed that a real Christmas tree in the bedroom is the ultimate turn-on for couples. Bonnett claims the green colour of the Christmas tree and smell of the ferns is soothing and acts as a reminder of nature. He also claims decorating a bedroom Christmas tree gives lovers a feeling of control as well as a warm glow of nostalgia. More and more people are choosing to have a fully decorated real Christmas tree in their bedrooms with social media awash with pictures of people sharing their bedroom Christmas trees and it’s a trend which is increasing as it seems. ‘The truth is that once couples try a tree in their bedroom they tend to have one every year. Possibly linked to the recent pandemic and the time of isolating at home, the need bring the outdoors in has gone one step further. The final comment from Bonnett – even more tongue in cheek ‘An artificial tree just doesn’t have the same benefits and no one likes to have to fake it in the bedroom.’

Peter Bradburn, Course and Grounds Manager –