16th July 2017 – Orford Ness

This week’s task was a rare visit to Orford Ness to tackle some Red Valerian that was unwanted.

This Red Valerian is a garden escapee – possibly originating from the garden of the Lighthouse Keeper and family – and is slowly spreading across the shingle, disrupting the native plant communities that are one of the most rare and important features of Orford Ness. It is an attractive plant and a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies and moths, but is eliminating other, even more significant plants.

Since Red Valerian spreads partly by underground runners, one of the most effective methods of controlling it is to pull the entire plants up. However, this meant that it was quite hard work! So well done everyone for the work done today. If you look closely, you can see the difference in the before and after photos – would be better with a drone though!

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Essex & Suffolk National Trust Volunteers

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