Wednesday, 30 June 2010

English Elm - Ulmus procera

There are three main types of Elm found in Great Britain.
1. English elm – Ulmus procera
2. Wych elm – Ulmus glabra
3. Smooth leaved elm – Ulmus minor

Family: Ulmaceae

Genus: Ulmus

Flower of the English Elm

Fruit of the Elm

Leaves of the English Elm 

 Pressed leaves of the English Elm

Full size English Elm 



Elms were traditional in the English landscape until Dutch elm disease annihilated them and they are now mainly confined to Sussex were many still line streets and adorn gardens and parkland.  Brighton and Eastbourne are particularly notable.  Some specimens have survived in the colder northern part of England where the Dutch Elm Disease beetle has less ability to survive.   

The oldest elms are considered to be the “Preston Park Twins” in Preston Park, Brighton each with a girth of 6m. 

Dutch elm disease

Early symptoms are wilting and yellow of leaves in the summer that spreads throughout the crown.  These leaves eventually dies back exposing twigs.

For more information go to The Great Elm Experiment –

Friday, 18 June 2010

CLOSE UP - Oak - Quercus robur

The native oak, Quercus robur, is one of the most important species of tree.  It supports more species of insect and invertebrate than any other single tree.  350 species of insect depend on the leaves, galls, acorns and heartwood of the oak. 

Older trees not only provide food for birds and mammals, they offer nesting sites for birds and roosts for bats.

As well as part of our natural ecology, the classic English Oak is part of our cultural identity.  Left to grow unhindered, thi s is a very large tree with a broad high - domed open crown and a short, thick heavily fissured brown bark. 

Don't be put off by this.  The oak can be pollarded, to contain its size, or even coppiced.  They are sometimes seen as multi-stemmed trees in hedgerows.  Have a go.  The Japanese have been bonsiaing oaks for centuries!  The one on the right is a young pollarded oak at Burnham Beeches, Epping Forest.

The leathery, more or less stalkless leaves have four- to five-rounded lobes on either side. They can be susceptible to frost-damage in spring, and insect attack later in the year, but without long-term harm to the tree. The leaves provide dense shade and a display of coppery-brown autumn colour. The acorns usually form in pairs on long stalks, as opposed to the stalkless acorns of sessile oak. This oak prefers the heavier soils of southern England and the Midlands, though it tolerates most deep soils other than peat.

Do you have an oak in your garden or field behind you in the hedgerow?
If you do, let the Tree Warden know as we are trying to build up a picture of Ulting and Langford's veteran and baby trees. 
Do you have a sapling you don't want?
Give the Tree Warden a ring for collection.
Whatever you do - enjoy your trees and the wildife they support.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bee Identification

Red Tailed Bee

Bombus lapidarius, Red tailed Bumble Bee - this beautiful bee is part of the "Bumble" Bee family. 

Commonly seen in gardens and hedgerows, the red-tailed bumble bee often nests under stones or slabs. This species is unlikely to sting unless its nest is endangered. However, red-tailed bumble bees will often fly menacingly around the heads of intruders, in an attempt to prevent damage to their nests.

Only the young fertilised queen survives the winter, having hibernated in a protected place such as in a hole or under moss. She emerges in spring and starts up her own colony or takes over an existing one. The queen makes pots of wax and pollen into which the first eggs are laid.

After about three weeks, the first infertile female workers emerge and take over the nectar and pollen gathering and cell building, while the queen concentrates on egg laying. The larvae are reared on pollen and nectar.

Male bees appear in summer and towards the end of the season both male and female bumble bees fly out and mate. The males are not allowed to re-enter the nest after mating and soon die. The fertilised queen starts searching for a safe place to hibernate but both the workers and the old queen die with the first frosts or spell of cold weather.

Bumblebees are now much less common in the countryside and gardens are an important habitat for these species, where they reward us by pollinating plants such as apple trees.

You can encourage them by making artificial nest boxes.
  1. Lie a large plastic plant pot on its side.
  2. Line the inside with chicken wire, and then inside this place a layer of capoc - upholsterers' cotton. Don't use artificial fibre as bees get tangled up in it.
  3. Fill the centre of the nest with hay and place an inverted plant-pot base over the top of the plant pot, securing it in place with wires fed through holes drilled in the side.
  4. Finally, drill a hole about 2 centimetres wide into the centre of the plant-pot base and insert a short length of hollow pipe - which becomes the entrance hole.
  5. Place the nest in a sunny border amongst vegetation and wait for the bees to find it. If you have white clover in the lawn, give it a flowery break from mowing in the summer - this bee loves clover flowers.

Interesting fact:
Bombus lapidarius
.....................lapidarius  comes from the Latin meaning stone therefore common names include:
  • Stone bumble bee (it commonly nests under stones)
  • Red tailed bee (it is one of the bees that has an orangey red tail)
  • Large red-tailed bumblebee
Kingdom Animalia This contains all the species of animals.

Phylum Arthropoda or Uniramia Animals without backbones, but with jointed legs.

Class Insecta or Hexapoda Insects, as the name hexapoda suggests, animals that have six legs, at least most of the adults have.

Order Hymenoptera Bees, wasps, ants and sawflies.

Superfamily Apoidea Bees and some wasps.

Family Apidae Bees.

Genus Bombus Bumblebees.


Buglife                    Natural England

Mason Bees

Masonry bees, Mason Bees Red Mason Bee or Mortar bees are so called because they sometimes burrow into the mortar joints in brick walls.  There are a number of different species of bee that do this, but the most common has the scientific name of Osmia rufa.

Appearance and Life History

In appearance these bees are similiar to an ordinary honey bees, and share the same soft brown and yellow colouration, as opposed to the bright yellow and black of the wasp, which mortar bees are often confused with. This can sometimes be reddy in colour hence one of their common names.

However, all Mason bees are solitary and do not form the distinct social colonies that we associate so much with the honeybee and common wasp, although they may be found close to each other since they exploit suitable nesting sites.

The natural habitat of Mason bees is earth banks and soft exposed rocks into which the female bee burrows. She builds a series of tunnels or galleries in the spring in which to lay her eggs from which the new adults emerge in the early summer. Only one such brood is raised each year.

Mason bees cannot tell the difference between soft rock and soft mortar, especially if it is old and perished. However, the gallery constructed by a single bee should not cause any significant damage, although if a brood is raised in one year spends the winter in the galleries, when spring comes they may start to enlarge the existing galleries or build new ones in the same area of the wall.
The only effective way of preventing damage is to repoint areas of soft and perished mortar as the bees can only burrow into comparatively weak materials. The joints should be raked out to a depth of 15mm (0.58in), and re-pointed with a mortar that is not too strong for the bricks, but hard enough to discourage the bees.

This work is best done in late summer, after the bees have ceased their activities but before the possibility of frost damage. Avoid the spring as costly special insecticide treatments are needed to stop damage occurring to the new mortar before it hardens properly and it should be emphasised that spraying or injecting insecticides do not have any lasting effect, and are only recommended in those rare cases where bricks or stonework have been entered.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Conservation Areas were first introduced in 1967 when it was found that statutory protection that existed for individual buildings was failing to protect the overall character of cities, towns and villages. The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 defines a Conservation Area as

"an area of special architectural interest,

the character or appearance of which

it is desirable to preserve or enhance".

Conservation Areas are often centred on listed buildings, open spaces or historic streetscapes. It is the character of the area as a whole, rather than individual buildings, that the designation seeks to preserve or enhance.

Maldon District Council is responsible for the designation of Conservation Areas.

Their policies on them are set out in the Maldon District Replacement Local Plan November 2005.

Conservation Area Reviews and Appraisals

A rolling programme of Conservation Area Reviews and Appraisals (CARAs) is nearing completion in the Maldon District. Eleven appraisals in Burnham on Crouch, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Southminster, Tillingham, Tollesbury, Bradwell on Sea, Langford, Maldon, Heybridge Basin, Purleigh and Goldhanger have been approved by Council following public consultation and approval by Planning and Licensing Committee. One Conservation Area, the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Conservation Area remains to be reviewed and appraised.

 A new Conservation Area has been designated at Stow Maries World War One Aerodrome on 17 July 2008. The buildings, structures and land within the Conservation Area is representative of a unique and rare survival of a permanent aerodrome operational from 1916-1919.

 The Conservation Area boundaries have been extended and redefined and are available from MDC.

Conservation Area Management Plans

Following approval of each Conservation Area Review and Appraisal, a Management Plan will be produced to implement the recommendations contained in each document. The Management Plans will be consulted upon in due course.

Do I live in a Conservation Area?

Here is Ulting and Langford Parish there is a strong chance that you live within a Conservation Area. 

In 1991, the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation was designated as a Conservation Area along its entire length from Chelmsford to Heybridge Basin (designation date: 20th November 1991).




There are 11 Conservation Areas in Maldon District Council area: 

  1. Bradwell on Sea
  2. Burnham on Crouch
  3. Goldhanger
  4. Heybridge Basin
  5. Langford
  6. Maldon
  7. Purleigh
  8. Southminster
  9. Tillingham
  10. Tollesbury
  11. Tolleshunt D'Arcy
What does living in a Conservation Area mean for me?

Conservation Area designation gives Maldon District Council extra powers to preserve and enhance its character and appearance. The principal consequences of this are: 

 Extra power to control development and demolition;
  1. The ability to carry out urgent works on vacant, unlisted buildings that have fallen into disrepair and to subsequently recover the cost of the works from the owner;
  2. Protection for all trees – six weeks notice must be given to Maldon District Council before any work is carried out on trees in a Conservation Area; and
  3. Greater control over advertisements and shop signs.

Article 4(2) Directions
Maldon District Council also has the power to introduce an Article 4(2) Direction in a Conservation Area if there is a need for further specific protection. There are currently six streets in the Maldon Conservation Area (only) that are subject to one of these Directions. See Grant Schemes: Grants for the Repair and Replacement of Front Windows and Doors for full details.


Monday, 14 June 2010

Ulting and Langford Tree Warden

The Ulting and Langford Tree Warden is

Carlie Mayes

She can be contacted via email at:


via telephone on

07979 862952


Maldon District Council - Tree Management

Maldon District  Council are responsible for the efficient management of all the trees within the authority area whether these are urban or rural.  Trees that grow in Council owned property or on public open spaces are also protected as they are deemed as Council Property. Anyone wilfully damaging these can be prosecuted. The Authority has its own professional tree maintenance team who carries out all appropriate tree care and maintenance to trees owned by the council.

The Tree Officer is contactable

on 01621 854477

Where possible, each Parish has a nominated Tree Warden.

For Ulting and Langford Parishes

this is Carlie Mayes. 


What is a TPO?

A TPO is a Tree Preservation Order. 

If my tree has a TPO on it what can I do?

A TPO is a piece of legislation that is there to protect an individual tree or a group of trees.  If you have a TPO then the Council believes that this tree, or group of trees, is important within the urban or rural enivornment where it is sited.  If you want to do any work on a tree/group of trees that has a Tree Preservation Order on it, then you MUST get permission from Maldon District Council.

What if I live in a Conservation Area?

Under the Conservation Area designation ALL TREES within a Conservation area are protected.  This means that if you want to do any work, such as pruning, crown raising or felling, you MUST get permissin from Maldon District  Council. 

Maldon District Council web link to TPO's and Conservation Areas

Some general advice for private tree owners:

  1. Contact your local Tree Warden if you are wanting advice on your trees and are unsure what you are allowed to do.
  2. Always contact the Maldon District Council to ensure that the trees are not protected by a Tree Protection Order, planning constraints or that the tree is within a Conservation area.
  3. Always employ a suitable trained professional Tree Surgeon, who is covered by Public Liability Insurance. (Always ask for proof).
  4. Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons. Reputable Tree Surgeons will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof.
  5. Always ask to see it. Reputable Tree Surgeons can be found in the Yellow Pages or contact Maldon District Council for further advice.
  6. If you are concerned about a tree within your local area that may be covered by a TPO or is within a designated Conservation Area, contact the Tree Warden on 01245 381577 or MDC Tree Officer on 01621 854477.

Useful Websites



Ulting and Langford Conservation Area

Information to be updated shortly. 

June 2010