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Planting In Johnston’s Coppice

Environment Group Website

In December 2021, HCC Countryside Service cut ash trees down along the edge of Johnston’s Coppice next to Purbrook Way. The trees were suffering from ash dieback and there were concerns some of the trees may fall across the pavement and into the road. A few other trees were felled or reduced at the same time because removing the ash increased the risk of windthrow (trees being blown down in strong winds).

On 13th April, volunteers from PAWARA and Havant Borough Tree Wardens helped the Countryside Service to replant the area with a mixture of native tree species. Over 200 trees were planted, including hazel, elder, hawthorn, blackthorn, buckthorn and crab apple, together with rowan left over from replanting the hedges in Havant Cemetery. HBTW took the opportunity to find a home for their growing collection of oak trees and a Purbrook resident donated four sweet chestnuts and an ash grown in pots.

There is already significant regrowth from the coppiced hazel, sycamore, ash, alder, goat willow, dogwood and guelder rose and buddleia has taken advantage of the disturbed ground.

The additional light reaching the ground has encouraged a range of wild flowers, including violets, primroses, herb robert and other plants yet to flower.

Insects seen included ladybirds, alder leaf beetle, bee-flies, small white and brimstone butterflies. The latter should be encouraged by the buckthorn we planted which is a favoured foodplant for brimstone caterpillars.

The verge in front of the planting area was a mass of dandelion, alexanders and garlic mustard which is a food plant of orange-tip caterpillars.

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