MCT Activities in November 2022

A bit different on Thursday 24th November. Mike came round to help Malcolm remove and cut up a branch hanging dangerously over the path by the dead hedge. Mike did an excellent job with the Silky pole saw at full extension (21 feet).

By November 22nd MCT had added 25 bags of pea gravel to fill the wet depression at the north end of the main path. Even after the torrential rain in the morning on November 23rd this area was still quite dry.

Reacent heavy rainfall really shows up the undulations in the main path on Mayfields as the puddles fill with muddy organic matter. On November 18-20 Malcolm added 15 bags of pea gravel to the biggest depression in the main path to provide a drier walking route.

Adding a few groups of Fritillaries after addition of P and K fertilizer to the subsoil locally prior to planting on Monday 14th November. Thanks to Louise for the photograph.

More leaf clearing on Sunday, using a mower to pick up and shred freshly fallen leaves from the path. It was good to see some beneficial effects already of the P and K added to sub soil of the recently planted out Cowslips.

Great to have Mike helping with clearing compacted muddy leaves off of the path at the Little Hob Moor end for 2 hours on Thursday afternoon.

Mike soon mastered our new technique with the long-handled leaf grabber.

Invested in a pair of long-handled leaf grabbers on Monday morning and tested them on site on the muddiest bit of the main path after scraping with a wire lawn rake. They certainly reduce the amount of bending required.

Another session of leaf clearing off of the path and some trimming of wild roses growing through the fence by the gate by Sabrina, Louise and Malcolm.

A useful session with Sabrina, Louise and Malcolm on November 3rd. We trimmed some large branches overhanging the eastern side of the Playground in Nelsons Lane and cut all the material up before moving it to the composting area

MCT Activities in October 2022

After planting the 3rd set of Cowslips on October 27th, Mark, Mike and Malcolm did some trimming of overhanging shrub branches to give more light (and potentially water) to the adjacent Cowslips. This set had P and K added to the sub-soil just below rooting depth. In the process it also provided better growth conditions for a small Yew tree, as shown in the photo below..

On 26th Mark and Malcolm transplanted out some more Cowslips, but this time added phosphate fertilizer to the 10-15 cm of loose soil blow the pot depth. Part of our Co-op supported project is to see if we can enhance wild-flower establishment by adding P and/or K.

Mark and Malcolm transplanting Cowslips after phosphorus addition. Thanks to Louise for the photo.

On Tuesday 25th October Mark, Louise and Malcolm started work on the MCT project being supported for a year by the local Co-op Community Fund to enhance biodiversity and wild flower species on the meadow. They planted the first batch of Cowslips that they had been growing on in a local member’s garden.

More leaf removal from the main path on October 23rd

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Path after 80 minutes of leaf clearing. Thanks to Louise for the photograph.

Light rain on October 21st but OK for trimming overhanging rose and brambles becoming a nuisance on this corner of the site.

17 volunteers from GoodGym came out in the dark on October 17 to help Malcolm with weeding the edge of the main path and cut up branches overhanging the side path around the meadow. Louise provided excellent refreshments after all their hard work. We were really impressed the next morning to see what a really excellent job they had done.

Beautifully edged path the morning after. Well done and thanks to GoodGym.

GoodGym volunteers working by headlamp light at 19.00 on 17th October.

MCT was sad to hear about the death of one of our members in summer of 2022. Because walking on Mayfields was one of her favourite activities her daughter asked us if she could donate a tree to commemorate her mum’s love of Mayfields. The tree arrived on the hottest day of the year when the soil was very dry so we grew it on in a tub in a garden until the weather was better for planting a tree. On October 13th Malcolm and Mike planted it out very carefully on the site.

It had an excellent rooting system and, as the photos below, show it is growing well.

A useful double session on Sunday 9th of October. Great to have Kathryn back a.m. to help Malcolm mowing round the young trees and shrubs at the north-east end of the main path. Mariella, Alex and Louise helped in the afternoon collecting leaves off of the main path before they could turn to mud later in the year.

Kathryn using our recent replacement battery mower round young trees and shrubs.

Alek using a mower to collect up and shred leaves off of one of the back paths for composting on site

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Mariella raking leaves to small piles to collect up and shred with the mower.

More mowing on October 6. Mike and Malcolm mowed both sides of the Nelsons Lane fence.

Mike was very happy with the new 4 Ah battery which lasted well over an hour.

A nice sunny afternoon on 2nd October was ideal for an hour’s mowing behind Hob Moor Terrace houses.

A good opportunity for Malcolm to test a new 4 Ah battery.

MCT Activities in September 2022

We mowed the area around the young trees beside the path to the railway underpass on September 29th as part of our scheme to maintain diverse habitats across Mayfields.

Only took just over an hour to do this job.

Malcolm and Louise added more logs and gravel to hel delineate the path edge on 27 September.

One of the jobs done by MCT at least twice a year is trimming the vegetation growing through the fence into the playground. Mike and Malcolm had a 2-hour session on this on September 22nd. It is important to remove thorny and prickly material.

Malcolm raking up the final traces at the end.
Mike making a start on the west side at the Nelsons Lane end

By September 18th we had finished trimming the dead vegetation on the meadow (via a series of 1 or 2-hour strimming and raking sessions by Malcolm, Mike and Kathryn). Sabrina and her friend Joey joined Mariella, Alek, Malcolm and Louise on the 18th to help mow around the outside of the meadow and collect up all the cut vegetation for composting.

Joey soon mastered the battery mower.
Sabrina used secateurs to cut the tougher dried stems.
Mariella and Malcolm hard at work raking up dried offcuts.

Alek with a very full bag to take to the compost area.

September 1st started with more trimming of mainly knapweed and grass on the meadow by Mike, Kathryn and Malcolm. Earlier than expected this as a consequence of trying to deal with droughty weather in York and listening to the local weather forecast for 3rd and 4th September.

Mike and Kathryn using a mix of secateur work and mowing.

Kathryn cutting one of the self-sown encroaching roses back to ground level.

MCT Activities in August, 2022

Good to have Sabrina joining us as a volunteer on Mayfields to work towards her DoE award. In a double session on Monday 22nd August we made a start on the Meadow’s Autumn trim and and with trimming excessive material growing through and/or over the fence into the playground.

Started with sheers and raking

A good start (after mowing at 6.6 and 4 cm.
Sabrina helping trim overhanging branches in the playground.

Malcolm spent an hour replacing a broken height adjustment rod on one of our older Mountfield Battery mowers on August 4th. At £26 for parts it’s a lot cheaper than buying a new mower and lets us keep using the older style of batteries.

Look for the shiny grey plastic (the new part).

Later that day Adam Cresser helped Malcolm for 2 hours to reduce some of the vegetation on the bund competing too successfully for water with the maturing trees we need to maintain.

The offcuts are cut up and left as a mulch.

The climate change-induced drought over most of July has had a big impact on Mayfields. Trees have responded by translocating nitrogen back to the roots from leaves resulting in brown edges to leaves and then leaf fall. This is their mechanism for reducing their evapotranspiration and water use. If it goes on for too long some trees and shrubs die, The tall grass on the meadow tends to get flattened on Mayfields. When rain was forecast for a few days we removed some of this by strimming and raking in selected areas and were please to see some of the protected wildflower species re-emerging as the areas greened up. We had an evening mowing volunteer session on 3rd August to trim back dead grass stems on some of the main path verges with the mowers set to 4 – 5 cm.

Mowing on August 3rd made good use of our new battery mower and an older one.

We’re grateful to the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward of CYC for funding the new mower.

MCT Activities in July 2022

July ended with a useful amount of rain and, on 31st, more raking off of tall, dry grass cut with the strimmer. Good to see wildflowers starting to re-emerge.

Area strimmed and raked a few days earlier greening up well.

A mix of routine jobs up to July 27 in several sessions. The drought killed off a number of small shrubs and trees but not many. It finally started to rain fortunately but only after we had done more watering of young trees and shrubs. We removed some dead plants in the woodland areas and did several strimming and raking sessions of parts of the meadow dominated by flattened dead grass. On the 27th we used a mower set at 5 cm to collect up more of the grass (that raking had missed). Meanwhile Louise did 2 sessions of litter picking.

Louise and Malcolm (that’s him as the shadow below) added another 80 litres of water to the soil round the Jubilee oak on Thursday July 14, not as hot as earlier in the week but trees need a lot of water in a drying wind (when recently planted especially). Kathryn and Mark helped with the same job earlier in the week.

On July 9th and 10th Kathryn and Malcolm braved the heat to finish a few outstanding weeding jobs and adding needed tree stakes.

On 2nd July Malcolm and Kathryn relaid the 4 paving stones someone had deposited in front of one of the 3 MCT benches to create a level surface over a weed barrier. It is now safer and looks neater.

A couple of days later an Oak tree was planted on little Hob Moor to comemorate the platinum Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Second. MCT was one of the sponsors and also took over 100 litres of water to assist with the planting conditions.

MCT Activities in June, 2022

Mike and Malcolm managed to finish strimming the grass beside Nelsons Lane on June 28 and rake up the cut material for composting elsewhere on site.

Very dry so best to remove for reduction of fire risk as well as for ecology!
Another job finished, just a few hundred more to do.

Still no rain on Saturday morning (June 25), but at least it was cool enough in the shade to spend 2 pleasant hours reducing the velcro plants, docks, nettles, brambles and excess buttercups that were starting to starve some of our recently planted shrubs of water and light.

Shrubs are generally doing well in spite of water shortage.

Malcolm went out for an hour and a half of strimming at just after 9.30 on Friday before it got too warm, cutting back grass that was taking much-needed water from round young trees and shrubs.

Sad to see one of the MCT information boards vandalized on 16th June. We’ll attempt to fix it for now as a replacement costs almost £1000.

Really warm on June 16 but Malcolm managed an hour of cutting down nettles and brambles about 4 feet tall growing against the fences of 3 or 4 Hob Moor Terrace houses.

Kathryn noticed a pair of large willow branches that had broken off of a crack willow at the N end of the site, overhanging an adjacent property.. She later came out with Mark and Louise to help reduce the overhang to a safer level. We’ll try to cut the remainder down later in the week.

After removing some sections to make it easier to see the break.

On Tuesday 7th Lesley, Paul and Malcolm carefully re-laid the 4 paving slabs someone had deposited on the grass in front of one of the MCT benches beside the path. This was necessary because they were protruding over the grass edge and nowhere near level, posing a trip risk. They were re-laid at a better depth over a double weed barrier and horticultural sand. It disturbed an ants nest, not surprising as the slabs had just been dumped on the surface.

Testing the re-laid slabs. Lesley also managed an hour of mowing.

Malcolm managed a 3-hour session on Thursday 2nd June, mainly mowing but some nettle reduction.

In need of grass removal to reduce soil N status.
After mowing the eastern half.
After mowing both path verges.

MCT Activities in May, 2022

Mike and Malcolm were out on Thursday May 26th, finishing (well almost) restoration of the width of the path to the underpass and doing some verge mowing later in the day.

On May 20th we decided that the nettles and other plants encroaching across the path to the railway underpass needed reduction to keep the path safe. It was done by hand-weeding rather than strimming to help reduce the soil fertility (and hence regrowth) at the path edges in the longer term.

Before and after shots show why the job was needed. As usual one of the local robins watched on, looking for lunch.

Mike and Malcolm did some trimming of the overgrown grass and rose between the gate and the playground on the morning of May 19. Malcolm went back in the evening and finished the job (well almost!).

Another excellent session on May 7th. Lesley mowed the tall grass in several areas while Kathryn, Mark and Malcolm trimmed back overgrown dead and living blackthorns and dogwoods starting to emerge and block the verge on the north west side of the main path.

Malcolm managed to trim the grass and Ground Elder crowding out the native English Bluebells at the northern end of the site on Thursday morning.

Kathryn and Mark Crozier with 2 of MCT’s battery mowers on Sunday, 1st May 2022.

Good to have Kathryn’s brother Mark joining us again on May 1st to help with mowing and trimming some lower over-extended oak branches beside the main path.

MCT Activities in April, 2022

April has been a busy month for our volunteers, reducing some overgrown or dead trees and lots of mowing the path verges as well as a fence repair and selective plant removal in new shrubbery area.

Good to see the large plastic bags of soil deposited here last year replaced by logs.

Hopefully the last remaining sheet of board will soon go too!

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Kathryn and Malcolm on April 24 reducing competition behind Shrubs planted by MCT last year.
Alan strimming grass behind Hobmoor Terrace houses.
Kathryn mowing on April 16.

Replaced broken fence bar on April 14

MCT Activities in March 2022

Just a rminder about the MCT AGM at 7 p.m. on Tuesday March 15th at Dringhouses Library. The meeting will start with a short presentation from Malcolm Cresser showing MCT activities throughout 2021. The business meeting will follow.

Lovely day on Sunday 13th, so we had our first mowing session of 2022 on one of the more sheltered areas of the site.

A useful 2-hour session with Kathryn and Malcolm on Saturday 12th. The removed a large, mainly dead, branch of willow suspended in a fork between 2 tree stems.It took several stakes. Later Alan Marsden cut up the material cut off in the composting area.

Finally managed to disentangle the hanging section.
Some sections snapped off easily when rotten at the base.

MCT Activities in February 2022

Clearing up after storns like Storm Eunace takes some time and safety is one of our prime concerns. Malcolm and Mark and Louise Crozier did a good job on 2 damaged trees on Saturday 19th of February, and Alan and Malcolm tackled a few more on Sunday Feb 20.

Alan tackling a hanging branch by the path.
Because of the advanced fungal attack damaged branch and a lot more was removed.

Someone managed to knock down the main gate off Nelsons Lane on February 10th by demolishing the gate post. Malcolm and Lesley made it safe that night using chains and padlocks, Alan, Paul and Malcolm took a couple of hours in the morning on Friday 11th to support the old gate post with straight and right-angle brackets as a more secure temporary fix. Later Malcolm also gave the gate a much-needed coat of wood preservative.

The broken post.
The repair team (Alan and Paul).
A working gate again.
And finally the preservative-treated gate later that day.

A useful session on Saturday February 5th 2022. Kathryn and Malcolm trimmed the rose near the bench beside the path to stop it overhanging the path and dug out the grass encroaching onto the path where it was reducing the path width.

Before we started – photo shows rose hanging over the encroaching grass.
Job after an hour of work. Looks neater and more importantly is safer too.