Replanting felled woodland

We’ve not long moved to Wales, there is a wooded area on the property and mid last year the previous owners felled 3-4 trees (I think redwoods), leaving a unnecessary clearing through the wooded area. 

This wasn’t done for any safety, disease or coppicing reasons. The fallen trees have been left on the floor and will be processed in due time
for firewood & habitat.

We’d like to replant this area with 3-4 fast growing trees, the property is in the Brecon Beacons, approx 1000ft elevation on a steady incline, full sun, fairly exposed, plenty of moisture naturally.

Can anyone suggest some reasonably fast growing trees to use for replanting this area (we’d consider semi mature to help speed up recovery). Definitely want to use something native and hardy.


  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741
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    Although you've given us site conditions, the other trees aren't mentioned, so we don't know whether the woodland is evergreen or deciduous, or if you wish to continue in a similar way or introduce variety. I'm also wondering why the urgency is such that you'd consider spending money on semi-mature trees in such an environment, where the soil will probably be thin and access perhaps difficult. Large rootballed trees are expensive, hard to insert into potentially rocky terrain, subject to rocking in strong winds and may not establish well. Smaller trees need less attention and grow away well if they're well-staked.
    Assuming you want deciduous trees, which are usually better for wildlife, you are spoiled for choice just now with bare root plants 2-3 years old at sensible prices. The many on-line specialist suppliers list the attributes of the trees they sell to help you choose. It's not essential to use native stock in every instance. For example, Italian alder grows about twice as fast as its 'British' cousins and stands up to your sort of conditions well. Personally, I'd consider hornbeam to be more suited to the Welsh landscape and conditions than beech, but both are used in similar locations here in Devon. My hornbeam planted in 2014 are up to about 5m now, but we're much lower and on good soil.
    Other trees that do well and grow fast for me are field maple and bird cherry. Some birches, planted young have also shot up, but others, planted too late and too mature, look straggly. I also interplant with smaller species for specific purposes, so I've buckthorn for brimstone butterflies and spindle for the autumn colours and seeds. Finally, I wouldn't be without different species of hawthorn, as they're good for nesting birds and berries.
    I use Buckingham Nurseries for most bare root trees, but I've also had good service from Hopes Grove and Hedge Nursery.
  • Apodemus
    Apodemus Posts: 3,384
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    Wilts, I think we need a bit more info to understand the location properly.  How big were the trees that were taken out - and perhaps as important, how much space have they left?  As mentioned above, what is the rest of the block like?  If the felled ones were mature trees (and if they were mature redwoods they would be huge!) you might be best to plant a lot more than 3-4 replacements, then thin as required in future years.  Or as Dave suggests mix your species to have 3-4 long-lived trees that will grow big plus however many smaller, shorter-lived species.  If the site is exposed, these other trees would act as a protective nurse-crop. 

    You might be best to live with the open space for a year to let the ground start to recover and to give space for the timber extraction (using redwoods for firewood might be a waste, if they are large enough to be planked, but I guess they have been taken down as discs?).  The ground under the redwoods will be fairly acid and this needs to be taken into account in your replanting plans.  In terms of habitat, open-space in woodland is a good thing, so no need to rush to fill it on that account.  I'd also vote for planting bare-rooted trees, suitably staked and tubed - but keep an eye on them as they may dry out more than you think in spring and summer, even in wet Wales!
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