It was a year of extreme temperatures – from a scorching summer to a snowy December. Lots of people asked us how the Christmas trees coped with the heat and lack of rain over the dry, hot summer of 2022. We are pleased to say that they coped remarkably well. There were just a few trees that suffered from patches of scorched needles.
Trees on the outer edges of planted areas bore the brunt but most were protected by the shade of their near neighbours. This year, we will plant beech trees in an open field margin on our new field to provide more shade.
These poor blackberry bushes in our hedgerows weren’t so lucky and got completely scorched. It just shows what a roasting summer it was. Thank goodness for the arrival of some cooler weather and some rain showers!
We have no doubt that our no-mow May and June protected the soil and our Christmas Trees from moisture loss and helped them through those hot summer months.
In contrast, the weeks leading up to Christmas season were unseasonably warm and there were still insects busying about. The badgers were happy – they love digging out wasp nests to eat and the dry summer meant worms had been harder for them to find. The usual hardening frosts came later than usual but they came in the end!
A snowy December
Then we had a rare December snowfall and our farm became a winter wonderland. This added to the fun of hunting out the perfect Christmas tree!
We don’t water our fields, and we rarely spray our trees either. With ever more unpredictable weather patterns, we need to continue to find ways to work with nature more than ever.