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Aftercare, and in particular weeding, is vital to the survival of newly planted trees. In the past many planting schemes have failed due to lack of care in the years immediately after planting. These first three or so years are vitally important. Fast growth means that the tree is vulnerable to vandals and other damaging agents for the shortest possible time. If the trees make good roots and sturdy top growth during these first years they will be able to withstand drought, be resistant to disease, and leaders will grow beyond the reach of browsing animals. If closely planted, the trees will rapidly form a closed canopy. This in turn will suppress weed growth, and the trees will mutually benefit each other so that a young woodland will quickly establish.
If aftercare is lacking, the young trees will malinger for a few years, putting on little new growth, or dying back and then trying to regrow from the stem. In mown grass such trees can hang around for many years without making any significant growth, creating an eyesore and a hindrance to other uses of the space. Unweeded young trees in long grass will be lost from view within a season, and many may die.
This chapter covers weeding techniques, control of woody weeds, the management of glades and paths, and the introduction of woodland flora. Information is also given on pruning, and control of pests and diseases. Felling techniques for early thinning of woodlands are outlined, as are coppicing and pollarding of young trees.