Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary

December 18, 2015

Getting a feel for GOT’s mistletoe

Filed under: Biodiversity,Current Affairs,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 6:17 pm
Location map - showing, very roughly outlined in red, the three GOT orchards, one without any orchard left!

Location map – showing, very roughly outlined in red, the three GOT orchards, one without any orchard left!

The riverside Poplar next to the orchards, covered in mistletoe growths.

The riverside Poplar next to the orchards, covered in mistletoe growths.

A quick visit to the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT)’s newly-acquired orchards at Longney, to admire/assess the mistletoe there. GOT have recently bought two traditional orchards, Long Tyning and Bollow, plus another orchard (now mostly gone) in an adjoining field. All next to the tidal Severn just below Gloucester at Longney.

I’ve known the site for many years, partly as part of a circular walk we like to do along the river, but also because of the mistletoe. There isn’t a huge amount of mistletoe in the orchards themselves (though there is too much in a few of the trees) but the site is dominated, to the mistletoe-aware, by a huge riverside poplar tree festooned with mistletoe.

A view downstream from under the poplar tree

A view downstream from under the poplar tree

This is one of my favourite sites to stand and stare at mistletoe, as it’s always an atmospheric place, right by the river. One of the oddest aspects is that you feel so close to the other side of the river, several miles away by road. Here, with it just 100 metres across the tidal flow, it is like glimpsing an unreachable other world.

An 1884 map of the Longney are, showing the number of orchards along the river bank. The GOT land is again roughly outlined in red.

An 1884 map of the Longney area, showing the number of orchards along the river bank. The GOT land is again roughly outlined in red.

These riverside fields were once dominated by orchards, many of which are now gone. Of those that remain many are now troubled by too much mistletoe and today’s visit was a recce to remind myself of the mistletoe situation in the GOT-owned land, with a view to management needed later in the winter.

One of the trees in the GOT orchards with too much mistletoe - so much that, in this case, it has been blown over, probably because of the mistletoe

One of the trees in the GOT orchards with too much mistletoe – so much that, in this case, it has been blown over, probably because of the mistletoe.

Just upstream, in another old riverside orchard, I’ll be running a mistletoe management workshop for GOT in February, part of an initiative from the Three Counties Traditional Orchards Project.

It is, of course, all a matter of balance – with some remedial management needed to regain a reasonable balance between host tree and mistletoe, and then ongoing management to maintain the situation. I’ll end, for now, with a picture of some of the mistletoe in one of the better-balanced trees – showing just what a healthy tree’s mistletoe can look like – check out those berries!

berriesbollowdec2015

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Coming soon, from Mistletoe Diary:

Mistletoe Surveys

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More Mistletoe Matters – links to mistletoey things to read, buy or do

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

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1 Comment »

  1. Good heavens that photo of the mistletoe with all the berries is just fantastic!

    Comment by Maggie Wallace — December 18, 2015 @ 8:51 pm | Reply


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