Grange Park embankment replanting update
Question: How many Network Rail engineeers does it take to plant up the Grange Park embankment?
Answer: around 40
Last week (March 20th - 21st), the Grange Park embankment was swarming with high vis jackets, as around 40 Network Rail engineers were on the site, removing weeds, dead trees and hedgerow shrubs; cutting and planting nearly a thousand new whips and two hundred trees. The long promised replanting programme has finally materialised, the start of a five year restoration programme, under the stewardship of The Tree Council.
A significant number of plants were replacements for those that had not survived, but new trees have been added on both embankments and more young whips of hedgerow plants have planted, to create a thicker and less linear hedge. The Tree Council's Programme Directors, Margaret Lipscombe and Jon Stokes, told local residents and David Burrowes MP, who helped with planting the final trees, that in the next growing season the plants should gain height, with proper management - ie watering, mulching and weeding. Next year, the supporting guards will be removed and the plants will thicken out. Within three growing seasons, we should have a hedge instead of a spindly line of green plastic tubes.
Why so many Network Rail engineers?
The replanting was also a training exercise on vegetation management for Network Rail managers and engineers. Under the supervision of Margaret Lipscombe, around forty Network Rail staff were taught the correct way to plant, to maximise the survival rate; including planting depth, supporting the young trees, removing labels and the importance of removing surrounding weeds.
Grange Park is being used as a case study in lineside management and conservation by both organisations, which it is hoped will lead to more environmentally friendly management strategies, across the country. The Tree Council will be also demonstrating the financial case for 'proper planting', since if the initial planting had been better executed and more effectively maintained, there would almost certainly have been a much higher survival rate; saving both time and money.
Residents and David Burrowes MP planted a selection of fruit trees on the 'orchard' part of the site, with the help of the Tree Council and newly trained NR 'eco-engineers'.
You can read more details about the five year replanting plan here
If you would like to find out about becoming a tree champion, to support the work of The Tree Council, they would be very pleased to hear from you.
How many Network Rail engineers does it take to plant two hundred trees and a thousand hedging plants on the Grange Park embankments?