We kicked off the first block weeks of the new standards this week.
We have themed the cohort names around trees, so Cohort Ash took up pole position.
William Fitter and Richard Prout of AC landscapes and Treeworks and Owen Hall and Dan Clatworthy from KJ Thulborn joined us at the River Dart Country Park, for an intense week of training and assessment.
Monday and Tuesday saw training on basic chainsaw use, maintenance and cross cutting. It is a lot to cover in two days, but the guys got stuck in, and the days flew by.
Wednesday saw us undertaking Woodchipper training and assessment, a full day of integrated training and assessment, at the end of which all the apprentices had excelled themselves and passed.
Their assessment for Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross Cutting was on Thursday with Drew Mead, and once again there were positive outcomes for all the gang, bar one slight hiccup in cross cutting which will see a brief retake.
Hey- ho, it happens, assessments can be stressful situations and sometimes your mind goes a blank.
You just have to dust yourself off and do it again.
Friday the group undertook their ROLO training and assessment, just to round off a full on week, which for some of them also included their UA1 assessments and CITB touchscreen tests!!!
You can’t help but admire, just how much these apprentices get stuck in and how much hard work they do in five days.
The cohort now go back out into industry for a few weeks, using their new found skills, before joining us again just before Christmas for training in Felling and First Aid.
The guys from last week’s Buckfast Abbey training course also undertook their Climbing and Aerial Rescue assessments, and all passed with flying colours, congratulations to them!!
Next week sees Cohort Beech joining us from Glendale, the format is the same, just different apprentices.
Sadly I misplaced my camera, so at time of writing I have no photos of them with which to grace these pages!
I found this fungal fruiting body, at the base of a Sweet Chestnut, right next to the one with the ‘shear bomb, from last week.
It is commonly known as Hen of the Woods, or Maitake.
It’s not to be mistaken for Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), which is bright orange/ yellow in colour, and also grows on oaks like this one generally does.
The Scientific name is Grifola frondosa. I have never found it on anything other than oak before, so it was a surprise to find it on Castanea sativa.
The fruiting bodies appear in small clusters at the base of deciduous trees, usually between the buttresses but in some cases it grows along the roots as well.
It causes a white rot, which means that the stiff component of wood, lignin, has been removed leaving the softer and more flexible cellulose behind, and this can eventually lead to failure of the rootplate, or base of the stem, but this can take a very long time to occur.
It is a good edible species, and is prized in many parts of the world. This one didn’t find its way into the pot, I am going to monitor this chestnut and see what happens, as it appears to be quite an unusual occurrence on this species of tree.
Following last week’s blog, I have revisited the sweet chestnut with the ‘shear bomb’.
This week Last week
However, if this stem fails catastrophically, and to be honest it looks quite likely, then we are watching the end game for this lovely old tree. A pity, but only part of the woodland cycle, and I will continue to follow the fortunes of this tree, as it struggles with a horizontal lifestyle, or is reduced to its component parts, and fed to the other inhabitants of the woodland.