Walton Hall Nature Trail, what's on Aug/Sept
See also July/August diary.
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- The mulberry tree is producing another heavy crop of berries much to the delight of wasps and starlings. It has also lost another branch, perhaps it needs a few more props and strings to hold it together or a different form of tree surgery.
- Many of the other trees are also producing their own distinctive fruit e.g.
- rowan (red berries) at various places round campus
- hazel (green covered nuts) especially in the hedgerows near Walton Lake
- oak (acorns) at various places round the trail, there are several other species of oak on campus some with 'mossy' acorn cups especially by east carpark.
- lime (a group of small nuts with a yellow/green wing attached) outside Walton Hall.
- Blackberries are also starting to ripen. There are over 400 microspecies in Britain so if anyone would like to identify the Rubus (brambles) round the trail they would be more than welcome. Particularly large numbers of fruit are to be had on the north (Standing Way) side of Walton Lake.
- The resident swans have raised a large brood and are often seen on the river or lake, the grey cygnets are now almost as big as the parents.
- Dutch elm disease is back again, killing off many of the hedgerow elms in the Walton Hall area and indeed right across the south of England. The disease is caused by a fungus which blocks the transport system within the plant. Leaves yellow, then dry out to a crispy brown forming distinctive areas within the canopy before, eventually, the whole tree succumbs. It is unlikely that the disease will wipe out the elms completely however, since most species freely produce suckers. The fungus is usually carried between trees by the elm bark beetle which lives on older trees with rougher bark, leaving the young saplings to escape.