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Welcome to the West Wickham Commons Newsletter covering West Wickham Common and Spring Park. FacebookTwitterYouTubeWebsiteEmailZap to the future for bracken control
Bracken is a tenacious plant and can quickly colonise an area. It spreads by underground rhizomes which may be up to 1 meter below the surface and can travel laterally for several hundred meters. Above ground the tri-pinnate fronds can grow up to 2 meters high, covering the land and outcompeting all other flora, and harbouring ticks. The dry thatch that is left behind at the end of the growing season also presents a substantial fire risk.
To prevent it from rampaging out of control and smothering low-lying vegetation, removing bracken is an essential part of managing West Wickham Common. Usually bracken is removed by a combination of different methods including pulling, mowing and spraying, all with limitations and degrees of success to killing the plant for good.
A new technology, trialled by the West Wickham Commons Ranger could be a potential game changer in the battle to control bracken; this new technology to remove bracken and other common ‘weeds’ sends electricity through an electrode on the end that boils the moisture content in the plant from the root upwards to kill it. It can work with immediate effect on some weeds (like bracken) but may take two/three goes on a plants with more complex roots (Japanese knot weed for example). It will only kill the weed that the electrode touches and will not affect other nearby plants so can be used around tree roots and desirable plant species which is a positive over other methods that are used to control bracken such as the controlled application of herbicides – certainly one to watch out for in the future!Autumn bounty
With the 1st of September officially marking the passing of summer into autumn, we can already begin to see the gradual shift in the seasons. There is a dampness to the morning air, mushrooms are rising from the ground overnight and the hedgerows are bursting at the seams with a bounty of fruits and berries. Right now, birds, mammals and insects will be feasting on the abundance of blackberries to prepare for the colder months ahead.
The season for much of the wild fruits and berries in hedgerows is rather short-lived and is one of the reasons why hedges are cut much later in the winter work season so as to avoid this critical time of year for wildlife where there is such a glut of food. The variety of colourful fruiting plants found on the West Wickham Commons can be identified with this handy rough guide produced by Plantlife.+ Discover hedgerow fruits and berries with this guideYour photos
Left to right: Spring Park meadow by Mark Shoesmith, Frogs in the Spring Park pond by Mark Shoesmith & Brown Hairstreak spotted by Martinsbutterflies on Twitter.
COVID-19 During the current COVID-19 crisis, please follow the UK Government’s current guidance. Please see notices on sites for details. If you are visiting, please remember:✅keep 2m apart✅you can meet outdoors in a group of up to two households (max 30 people)✅you can meet outdoors in a group of multiple households (max 6 people)✅be considerate of others✅take litter home and pick up after your dog waste X no BBQs
For more details, please visit the GOV.UK website
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The City of London Corporation has seven green spaces in South London and Surrey covered by three charities: Ashtead Common, Coulsdon Commons and West Wickham Commons. Each charity has its own Newsletter and you can now:
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