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Just seven per cent of traditionally managed Welsh orchards are in excellent condition, with 35 per cent identified as being in a poor state. The findings come from a report released this autumn by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), which surveyed a selection of the approximately 1,000 hectares of orchards. The survey adds to the national inventory of traditional UK orchards; an inventory is now underway in Scotland.
Traditional orchards provide excellent conditions for wildlife and are home to at least 1,800 species. However neglect, pressure from development and changes to agricultural practices have led to an estimated 94 per cent reduction in traditional orchard habitat in Wales during the last half of the 20th century and a 90 per cent decline in England.
A new mobile app will make the task of adding sites and collecting data easier and is open to anyone with access to a smartphone. The ‘Traditional Orchard and Fruit Tree Survey’ app can be downloaded for free from your usual sources.
Now's a good time to plant garlic, which will produce roots over the winter ready to grow away strongly as soon as spring arrives. Plant into well-drained soil in a sunny position, setting individual cloves about 20cm (8in) apart so that just the tips are showing.